Saturday, August 9, 2008

Diary of the Dead (2007)

I wasn't expecting much since I'd heard that this was terrible, and although I didn't like most of the characters, it actually wasn't that bad.

The biggest problem I had with the film is its overall preachy tone, hitting you over the head with how the media manipulates what we see. The characters and situations show this clearly. Yet one of the characters does narration to explain how our perception of reality is shaped by the media and how they distort or lie in their broadcasts. The narration is unnecessary unless your audience is too stupid to comprehend the story line, and if so, they're never going to truly understand that the news doesn't always tell the truth.

The story centers on a group of college students making a horror movie who hear news reports that the dead are returning to life. They jump into a Winnebago to head home to their families. Film student Jason has the camera to his face as he believes he is filming history and is compelled to film everything that happens. He is single minded in his pursuit of footage and continually uploads to the internet so that the people will get the real story, which they are not getting from the news.

He's so into filming that if one of his friends is being attacked, he keeps filming rather than trying to help them. His self importance is ridiculous as there are tons of people doing the exact same thing. Can you imagine if there really was a zombie uprising? Youtube would be clogged with lame videos on the subject, just like they are now with any other subject you can imagine. For every relevant piece of video on the net, there are countless other pieces with the same keywords that are a total waste of your time.

Plus Jason never even realizes that his truth isn't any better than the news, as he asks his friends to re-enter a house so that he can get everyone doing it. The video is Jason's vision, not what is real.

Even with that major issue, as well as some really stupid decisions when it comes to keeping themselves safe, there are some really good parts, especially the exploding eyeballs and the scenes in Amish country.

One other warning, if you're prone to motion sickness, you may have a problem as the film is shot as if it is a documentary done by the college kids. It's not as bad as Blair Witch, but there is more than the average camera swinging going on.

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