Rewatched Sep 07, 2012
Josh Keown’s review:
“Are we worth saving? You tell me.”
-Debra Moynihan (Michelle Morgan)
Film 19 of 35 of The Found Footage/Mockumentary Project.
Once again, I’m going to defy common sense and logic by reviewing one of Romero’s later ‘Of the Dead’ entries before its predecessors. Diary of the Dead is the fifth in the series, a series that has been producing diminishing returns since the Dawn. Watching it again today however, I found myself quite enjoying it.
So then in Diary, we follow a group of aspiring film students whom run into real-life zombies while filming a horror movie of their own, caught up in the middle of the storm as a plague sweeps the nation. It takes the usual apocalypse premise, and just adds the 'found footage' edge to it.
All things considered, it shouldn’t be any good. Many things about it aren’t; the acting and screenplay are very average, the cinematography is standard shaky cam stuff, whilst the story is the basic and doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre. And yet Diary is surprisingly watchable, and actually rather compelling. It starts off on very rocky ground, but finds its footing and improves as it goes along.
I’m at a bit of a loss. I didn’t like this one previously, but seeing it again today, it was quite good fun. It hasn’t got a scratch on the original trilogy, but it takes the franchise in a new direction at the least. Without the ‘found footage’ element though, and a better screenplay and cast, this had potential to be great. Instead it’s good, but screams of wasted potential.
VERDICT; I’ve rather mixed views on this one, after a rewatch. Technically, it’s really quite mediocre, but is somehow enjoyable and attempts at some meaningful commentary like the rest of the series. As far as found footage films go, this is well above average, but considering this is Romero – King of the Zombies – you can’t help but feel he could’ve done better.
3.5/5 or 7/10