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Land of the Dead

USA 2005
produced by
Mark Canton, Peter Grunwald, Bernie Goldman, Steve Barnett (executive), Dennis E.Jones (executive), Ryan Cavanaugh (executive) for Atmosphere Entertainment MM, Wild Bunch, Rangerkim/Universal
directed by George A. Romero
starring Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Asia Argento, Dennis Hopper, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark, Joanne Boland, Tony Nappo, Jennifer Baxter, Boyd Banks, Jasmin Geljo, Max McCabe, Tony Munch, Shawn Roberts, Pedro Miguel Arce, Sasha Roiz, Krista Bridges, Alan Van Sprang, Phil Fondacaro, Bruce McFee, Dawne Furey, Tom Savini
written by George A. Romero, special effects by K.N.B.EFX Group, SPIN VFX, music by Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek

George A. Romero's Living Dead-series

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The (living and cannibalistic) dead have overrun the earth, and they seem to slowly remember what they have been before death and start showing rudimentary intelligence, including the use of simple tools. But humans (those of the living kind) have not died out altogether, they live in cordoned off parts of the city, like tha one rich tycoon Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) runs and try to pursue their consumer lifestyles as good as they can. Mercenaries provide the food for them, by looting stores in the land of the dead, and preferably killing deads by the dozen while at it.

One of these mercenaries (or looters if you may), Cholo (John Leguizamo), also runs a few extra errands for Kaufman on the side, as he hopes to make enough money to move into Kaufman's luxury building Fiddler's Green, which is heavily advertised for on tv as the one and only paradise in the land of the dead ... butz then he has to learn that Kaufman's gratitude just won't go that far, and that Kaufman prefers to get rid of of who he suddenly realizes to be a liability instead of accepting him in his house.

Furiously, Cholo steals Dead Reckoning, the city's top armored car that also includes a big arsenal and rocket throwers ... exactly the vehicle Kaufman would need should he ever decide to make an escape (you can't live among the dead indefinitely you know).

So Kaufman hires Riley (Simon Baker), an mercenary like Cholo, along with his friends Charlie (Robert Joy) & Slack (Asia Argento) to retrieve the vehicle ... especially since Cholo tries to blackmail Kaufman. Riley is less than happy to work for Kaufman, but since Kaufman is the only one who can get him & his friends out of jail, he has little choice.

Soon, Cholo & gang & Riley and friends meet outside the city to fight it out, but the battle is cut short when zombies attack and bite Cholo (their bite is infectous within one hour) ... So Cholo decides, in the time that's left to him, to return to the city and avenge himself on Kaufman ...

But the city as such is facing an even bigger problem, the zombies have finally found a way to get into the city, and regard it as an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Riley & friends and the rests of Cholo's gang decide to return to the city to help ...

In the end, Cholo - now a zombie - gets his revenge on Kaufman, but Riley & friends almost arrive too late, but are ultimately able to blow away a buinch of people munching zombies to save a handful of (still living) citizens.

Then Riley, Charlie & Slack as well as the surviving (well, still dead, actually) zombies leave town to look for a better place to stay.

 

In the early to mid-2000s, with films like 28 Days later, the Dawn of the Dead-remake, the Resident Evil-films and Shaun of the Dead, the zombie-genre seemed to have a long overdue (?) revival, so it seemed only fitting that George A.Romero, the father of the man-eating zombie would make another genre contribution after a 20-year-hiatus (since Day of the Dead)  ... and despite all fears that it would only be death warmed up, The film is surprisingly good, shot in style of a good old-fashioned b-movie, with elements of the gangster genre and satire incorporated into the basic zombie plot, making this one easily the most intelligent and inventive of the whole crop of then current zombie shockers.

The film itself is not without fail, it's neither as creepy as Romero's own Night of the Living Dead, nor is the satire as to-the-point as in his Dawn of the Dead, and neither does Simon Baker convince as a hero nor is there any narrative necessity for Asia Argento (but as always, she's just gorgeous to look at), but on the other hand, the film is not overburdened with flashy but pointless CGI-effects or fashionable but cold camerawork, instead concentrates on telling a story that doesn't insult the audience, witht he effects never given more room than they deserve ... and it's easily Romero's best picture in the last 20 years (or more).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD