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Diary of the Dead

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

After the disappointments of ‘Land of the Dead’ and Zak Snyder’s mediocre re-make of ‘Dawn of the Dead’, George Romero revives the rotting corpse of his own zombie mythology with this nihilistic low-budget horror movie. Like the recent ‘Cloverfield’, Romero uses the kinetic immediacy of digital video shot on-the-run, but in a more sophisticated and disturbing way.

The film-within-a-film that we are watching is ‘found footage’ that has been professionally edited together after the event and is presented as student filmmaker Jason Creed’s final video testament, ‘The Death of Death’.

Shot by a fleeing group of film students and their drunken professor, this ‘home movie’ shows appalling scenes of flesh-eating carnage, as a post-viral society slides towards anarchy and apocalypse. But bleaker still is the inter-cut footage culled from a variety of public media, in particular rolling news coverage and internet blogs.

The ‘shaky-cam’ aesthetic of ‘Cloverfield’ was merely an effective gimmick; by contrast, ‘Diary of the Dead’ uses the shocking visceral impact of these violent images to interrogate and question our ghoulish fascination with images of violence and death; what ‘Cloverfield’ producer JJ Abrams himself has called ‘the YouTube-ification of things’.

As her filmmaker boyfriend continues to record appalling scenes of nightmarish horror and emotional distress, Deb (Michelle Morgan) angrily lambasts him for his voyeuristic detachment: ‘If it didn’t happen on camera, it’s like it didn’t happen, right?’ Some incongruous scenes of knockabout humour aside, this is about as grim as it gets. At one point, Jason (Joshua Close) uploads some grisly images to the net, then congratulates himself as his website receives 72,000 hits in eight minutes.

Written by Nigel Floyd

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 7 March 2008

Cast and crew

  • Director:George Romero
  • Cast:
    • Michelle Morgan
    • Joe Dinicol
    • Scott Wentworth
    • Joshua Close
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