When the the godfather of zombie flicks decided to go down the route of Found Footage films I was more than a little excited. George A. Romeo’s zombie found footage Dairy of The Dead promised so much…
But did it deliver?
Building on a Failure
During 2004 the classic Dawn of The Dead was remade and became a big hit for the second time. George A Romeo was back in fashion as a result and he was handed a massive wad of cash to create the next installment in the ‘Dead’ series – The Land of The Dead.
Now I loved this movie but apparently the rest of the globe did not share my enthusiasm – if flopped miserably!
George had to rethink his strategy and decided against the big budget productions for Diary of the Dead.
He jumped back on the independent band wagon and shot this film with a low budget in larger rural areas – much like his classic first film was shot!
The main difference here was that he filmed it as a zombie found footage flick to cut the wage bill in half…
Before we go any further I should really mentioned that I did LIKE this movie but I EXPECTED MUCH MORE. I don’t want people shying away from the film just because of this review!
I felt as though George had nowhere left to turn when he came to this movie – Land of The Dead had basically ended the saga and left very little room to go forward.
So he decided to go back to the very start of his zombie apocalypse and do it all over again – after all it worked the first time round!
The core of characters in this film are a group of film students from Pittsburgh who are filming a low-budget mummy movie. They are stuck out in a local forest filming when the news comes through that the s**t has hit the fan.
Joshua Close plays the lead ( or cameraman ) for this zombie found footage as he is the director of this low budget mummy film. When the outbreak hits he decides to keep the camera rolling to document the whole thing.
Luckily enough the group are in current possession of a Winnebago so they use this to travel through Pennsylvania in an attempt to find out if their loved ones are alright.
I’m afraid I didn’t find to many ideas in this film that were 100% unique or memorable. Romeo has stuck to a process he knows works but in doing so has avoided originality.
I constantly got the feeling I was in the middle of a scene I had witnesses before. This could be down to the fact that the zombie genre is now overcooked due to The Walking Dead series.
I was left feeling a little bored one minute then really excited the next – it was hard to stick with a feeling throughout the film!
I think the biggest downfall of the film is the fact that it is filmed to well – Found Footage should not be like this! I am used to a shaky camera and sprints through forests leaving us with nothing more than passing grass to look at. This seemed much to calculated and the audio also seemed to crisp and clear.
Dairy of The Dead is an enjoyable zombie found footage horror but it could of been so much more. I think my expectations were raised by the name of George A Romeo on the front cover of the film!
The effects and make up were excellent like most of his zombie flicks but I just felt the film needed that ‘X-Factor’ somewhere in there. It didn’t offer to many original ideas for a zombie film – maybe our friend George has exhausted them all?
I got the feeling that if this film did not Have Romeo’s name on it then it would of been treated like all the other indie Found Footage efforts – straight to shelf!
If you enjoy the Found Footage genre then you will probably enjoy this but more dedicated fans of Romeo’s work may feel a bit let down by it.
I enjoyed it overall but I can imagine many horror fans will not feel the same way – try it and see!