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Review: Land of the Dead

After the end… life goes on. For the survivors–and for the undead. Humans hide behind concrete walls and electrified fences, venturing out into the world only when they need to scavenge for supplies; they’ve built a decadent society dominated by corporate greed and corruption. Meanwhile, the zombies grow more intelligent, learn to use weapons, and organize an army to tear down their oppressors.

I loved this flick. Is it scary? Not really. Is Dawn of the Dead? Not half as terrifying as the last act of Shaun of the Dead! Is it subtle? Not at all. Is Dawn of the Dead? As a bloody cream pie to the face! In many ways, Land of the Dead is merely a logical escalation of the themes Romero established in the earlier film. Dawn explains that the infected gather at the shopping mall because they “remember it was an important place in their lives”; in Land, they act out those lingering memories–work old jobs, go on “dates,” etc. In Dawn, the human survivors, desperate to return to some semblance of normalcy, transform a bare storage room into a cozy little home; in Land, they drink, gamble, hire prostitutes, and–if they can afford it–live in luxury apartments.

I’ve read countless reviews that compare the two movies far less favorably, but at the end of the day, I admire Dawn of the Dead for its narrative clarity, memorable characters, and sharp sense of humor… and I enjoy Land for all the same reasons.

[Originally written September 15, 2012.]

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