Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Even though I’m pretty sure this movie wasn’t designed to go Straight to DVD with the Zombie budget alone having to be in the tens of millions, but I sure am glad it did. While we here at the FCU can see why Steve Miner’s little exercise in complete and total zombie chaos may not have rated a theatrical release, our evil doppelganger over at the Totally Twisted Flix TV studio is overjoyed to have yet another quality Straight to DVD release to put on his show, and while this somewhat loose remake of ‘Day of the Dead’ is no ‘Shawn of the Dead’, it is quite the enjoyable mix of track star zombies, comedy and total bloody chaotic mayhem.

We know almost immediately that there’s trouble in this little nowhere town in the middle of Colorado since the army, led by super stern army Captain Rhodes (Ving Rhames) won’t let any of these people leave this town under any circumstances. We would like to point out that Captain Rhodes has gotta be one of the oldest Army Captain’s on record and surely by now in his career we woulda thunk the man to be well on his way at least colonel status. Oh well, this is probably why he drew the short straw on what we know will generally be a no win assignment. To assist the Captain in keeping these locals locked in this city so that they can die horrible deaths, though the Cap doesn’t know this yet, is the worlds most adorable NCO since Private Benjamin in Corporal Sarah Bowman (Mena Suvari) who also happens to be from this little soon to be doomed town.

Before you can say ‘evil government experiment’ a large number of people in this town have come down with a rather sudden and quick case of ‘the flu’ and have flooded the local hospital. A cough here, a bloody nose there and then all the sudden you’re packing rotted flesh, have a strong craving for human meat and can run a 4.2 forty. The good thing is that our super cute corporal is on the J.O.B. and she won’t have to battle these zombies alone. We have Private Salazar (Nick Cannon) who will be our wise cracking

Black Dude for this zombie killing experience, Private Crain (Stark Sands) who is our geeky dude with a big ol’ crush on our cute corporal and – this is a SPOILER – will serve as sort of a pet zombie in this movie. Also along for the ride is Corporal Bowman’s baby brother Trevor (Michael Welch) and his girlfriend Nina (Annalynn McCord), and of course the sniveling gub-ment scientist who knows more than he’s letting on in Dr. Logan (Matt Rippy). Damn, we almost forgot about our aging Captain Rhodes…. Errrr… Let’s say we don’t include him.

The zombies are everywhere, they are fast, strong, hungry and damn if they can’t even climb walls. The good thing is that there are Black dudes available to sacrifice their lives if need be so that the non-black characters can live! Hooray Black dudes willing to die for the greater good!

I’m thinking the last thing you want to do when approaching ‘Day of the Dead’ is take it even remotely seriously. If you think, even for a moment, that you’re getting some hardcore George Romero-esque zombie flick then you will be greatly disappointed. Even though a lot of the characters have similar names to their predecessors, this is a movie that probably would’ve benefited more if they hadn’t called it ‘Day of the Dead’ and instead called it something else with the word 'dead' in it. I’m thinking ‘The Dead wear Track Shoes’ would’ve worked. Now if you can let the fact that this isn’t a legitimate ‘dead’ movie then there really is a lot of bloody good fun to be enjoyed here. This is a movie that is violent beyond all reasonable belief with zombies doing plenty of what zombies are expected to do, and then suffering in the most awful ways with plenty of beheadings, bullets to the head, caved in skulls and then the zombies had a unique way of exploding when getting run over by cars. As cute as she is Ms. Suvari makes for a pretty good athletic action star, Nick Cannon wasn’t nearly as annoying as I thought he would be playing the wise cracking Black Dude, and he too was plenty bad ass, except when it came for his eventual sacrifice of course. We do question why even bother bringing in a talent such as Ving Rhames if this is all you’re going to have him do. Probably could’ve saved a few bucks and hired me.

What you won’t see in ‘Day of the Dead’ outside of the copious amounts and blood and gore is any real fresh or unique takes on the whole Zombie genre, other than the wall crawling Zombie and I’m not sure that’s the something the genre really needs. Though I did admire the king zombies ability to avoid bullets, sort of like a zombie version of Neo or something.

Since I’m no zombie purist and I don’t worship at the alter of Romero I actually had a pretty good time watching this tongue in cheek bloody mess of a movie. Not a classic by any means but definitely a good way to see how to properly put some blood squibs and fake CGI hemoglobin to its proper use.

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