Friday, October 14, 2005

Film Review: Land of the Dead

Who doesn't enjoy a good zombie film? Very probably every person who has ever plonked down the cash to see one at the cinema. This is because there is no such thing as a good zombie film. They're all terrible. Even the good ones.

You see, zombies aren't very scary. They're slow, they're stupid and they're wrinkled. Ask yourself, are you scared of old age pensioners? Because, that's basically what zombies are.

Scared? Didn't think so...

Film directors have tried to get around the problem of zombies being, well, a bit crap, by giving them wonderful new powers other than their traditional shuffle and grab. In last years remake of Dawn of the Dead the zombies were capable of breaking into a quick dash if someone tried the old standard zombie-escape plan of simply jogging away. In Land of the Dead the zombies have the fearsome ability of...learning. Yes.

Needless to say this is not particularly scary. They are still slow and stupid. Along the way a few zombies work out that guns can kill, but only one zombie learns that guns don't kill people, people kill people by pointing guns at other people and pulling the trigger. For the rest of the armed zombies a rifle is nothing more than an elaborate club with which you can wallop things.

The film was disappointing on a number of levels. Firstly, there were never enough zombies to convincingly be a threat. For a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world, there were bugger all of the undead shuffling about. Having recently been spoilt by films using masses of computer generated armies battling it out, the thirty or so zombies marching on Dennis Hopper's fortress-like city was rather pathetic.

Secondly, if you cast Dennis Hopper in a film you're gonna get a film starring Dennis Hopper acting as Dennis Hopper. I don't actually mind Dennis Hopper, he was certainly the best thing about Waterworld, but his shtick is getting a little tired.

And thirdly, the story was poor. Little is expected from a zombie film but the heavy-handed allusions to the war on terror was a bit naff, including the line "I don't negotiate with terrorists". Puh-lease. The jump-in-your-seat moments were well signposted offering no chance of not expecting them and the many pointless characters that were introduced all lived, whereas we all know that any pointless characters introduced into a zombie film are, in fact, supposed to die.

So, like every other zombie film, it’s good popcorn-munching fun, but it's also rather terrible. Which is, of course, exactly how a good zombie film is supposed to be.

Finksville Rating: 2/5

Finksville's Guest Columnists: Jam Davies

Jam Davies

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