When I first heard about George A. Romero’s intentions to make Diary of the Dead I was extremely excited. Years later the finished film has finally opened in UK cinemas (if you can find it) after a limited release stateside and I have to say I was sorely disappointed.
The film opens (poorly) with a group of student filmmakers and their lush professor (my film lecturers never came out on location with us) larking around in the woods as they make an old-fashioned mummy movie (which the professor points out comes with an underlying social commentary…wink wink). Being the socially aware, technologically together film geeks that they are, they soon discover news footage of dead bodies rising and attacking paramedics online. The crew soon learns that other reports are coming in about the dead rising, so they set off in their battered old Winnebago documenting their findings along the way for those who survive.
You know all those stories you hear about people puking in the aisles during shaky cam efforts such as Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield? I always used to say bollocks to that, but I almost spewed within the first five minutes of this film and I had a headache and felt car sick for the rest of the day. Alcoholic cinematography aside, Diary is disappointing on just about every level. The characters are poorly constructed to the point that even the actors who I really like were annoying me. Our leading lady is about the only person you care about. Some of the deaths are wicked but are ruined by dodgy CGI, the film is about an hour too long, comprised of poor editing choices and re-uses so much stuff it’s unreal. One particularly drawn out scene in a hospital is used as a flashback the second it ends. Thus ends my ramblings.
As my kid sister said afterwards – someone’s lost their touch.