Directed by Tom Savini [Other horror films: Deadtime Stories (2009, segment ‘House Call’), The Theatre Bizarre (2011, segment ‘Wet Dreams’)]
To be honest, I was expecting something more from this remake of the classic 1968 zombie film, as I’ve generally heard positive things about from fellow horror fans, but after taking the time to finally watch it, I was very underwhelmed, and ultimately find the film a bit pointless.
The original Night of the Living Dead has never been a favorite of mine. Oh, I enjoy the movie well enough, and it definitely changed the trajectory of zombie movies, but it can sometimes feel a bit on the slow side. That said, I found a lot more to enjoy in that movie than I did here, and while this version tries to change some things up (such as the route that Ben takes toward the end), I can’t deny that it somewhat fell on deaf ears.
Tony Todd was perhaps the best thing about this movie. He wasn’t as good as Duane Jones, but he still brought a significant power to his character. Patricia Tallman was certainly a more useful Barbara here than Judith O’Dea was, but that’s one of those changes that I didn’t find myself loving. I pretty much think Tom Towles nails it, but still, compared to Karl Hardman, he’s not nearly as strong a personality.
Unless I’m missing something, I just don’t see what all the hoopla about this one is. It’s an okay zombie movie if you’ve somehow missed the original, or if you wish the original was in color, or if you like seeing a young Bill Moseley, but otherwise, I really don’t get it. Now, I understand that director Tom Savini had some clashes with Romero while working on this, and the remake itself was, in part, made to help Romero recoup his losses from the original film, but knowing all of that doesn’t make the film any better, at least not for me.
The original film is a classic for good reason, but this isn’t really anything I could ever see myself wanting to spend time on again. I went into this one hoping for a lot more than what I got, and I won’t say that I’m not disappointed with this one.