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Diary of the Dead
Directed by George A. Romero
Produced by George A. Romero
Peter Grunwald
Sam Englebardt
Artur Spigel
Dan Fireman
John Harrison
Ara Katz
Written by George A. Romero
Starring Shawn Roberts
Joshua Close
Michelle Morgan
Joe Dinicol
Philip Riccio
Scott Wentworth
Amy Lalonde
Tatiana Maslany
Music by Norman Orenstein
Cinematography Adam Swica
Editing by Michael Doherty
Studio Artfire Films
Romero-Grunwald Productions
Distributed by The Weinstein Company
Release date(s) September 8, 2007 (2007-09-08) (TIFF)
02008-02-15 February 15, 2008
Running time 95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million
Gross revenue $5,188,775[1]
Preceded by Land of the Dead
Followed by Survival of the Dead

Diary of the Dead (also known as George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead) is a 2007 American horror film by George A. Romero. Although independently produced, it was distributed theatrically by Dimension Films and was released in cinemas on February 15, 2008[2] and on DVD by The Weinstein Company and Genius Entertainment on May 20, 2008.

Diary of the Dead is the fifth film in Romero's highly acclaimed Dead series of zombie films. It is not a direct sequel to previous films in the series, and "a rejigging of the myth" according to Romero.[2]

Diary of the Dead follows a band of people making a horror film at the time of the first outbreak who decide to record the epidemic incident documentary-style and end up themselves being chased down by zombies. It appears to be set in a present time (though it takes place in the same time frame as the original).

Contents

Plot

The movie begins with an introduction to a documentary called "The Death of Death". The movie then shows a view from a cameraman and a news reporter, reporting on the murder of a local family. The reporter and newswoman chat while the ambulance crew load the deceased bodies. Suddenly, one of the bodybags move and an ambulance worker attempts to resuscitate the body when he is bitten. Another zombie approaches the news crew and police open fire on them but are ineffective at killing the zombies. The news lady is bitten on the neck while the cameraman films. The scene cuts to a group of young film studies students from the University of Pittsburgh: Jason, Ridley, Francine, Mary, Debra, Tony, Gordo and Eliot, who are in the woods making their own horror film about a mummy along with their faculty advisor, Andrew Maxwell, when they hear on the radio the news of apparent mass-rioting and mass murder. Soon, these reports include cannibalism and the fact that the recently deceased are inexplicably waking and walking.

Ridley and Francine decide to leave the group, while Jason, who wants to film the events documentary-style, heads to the dormitory of his girlfriend Debra Monahan. Debra shows surprisingly good sense when we first see her, because when she opens her door, she is armed with a heavy candlestick, as where most people in this type of film would just open the door. When she cannot contact her family they travel in Mary's RV to the house of Debra's parents in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

While driving her RV, Mary sees a car accident and runs over a highway patrolman and three other zombies trying to escape from them. The group stops and, after running over an undead state trooper, and then having to endure Tony declaring that she just killed real, living people, Mary tries to commit suicide shooting herself in the head with a pistol. Her friends take her to a hospital where they realize that the dead are returning to life as zombies and they need to fight to survive while traveling to Debra's parents' house.

On their way the fuel line of the RV is cut but they are assisted by a deaf Amish man named Samuel. The real surprise here is Tracy, who reveals that she is familiar with auto repair because of her father's profession. Just before escaping, Samuel is bitten and takes his own life by stabbing himself with a scythe through his head, but also taking the zombie with him.

They later pass a city and are stopped by an armed gang. They try to barter with the men, who are better armed and supplied. The men are survivors of the attack on their city; everyone else left. The leader is a member of the National Guard, and does not believe the military will help. They rest in the city for a while, and edit their videos. There is a small argument amongst Jason and Debra, who does not share his belief in the need for videos. Jason sees the recordings as a necessity to show the world what was really happening. His uploaded videos reach 72,000 hits in eight minutes. They also find out that Debra's family were camping for the extent of the crisis, and is just now on their way home.

The National Guard survivors gear up after one of their members has a heart attack, dies, then goes missing. They mistakenly kill one of their own and the chase the zombie into the fuel supply area, killing it with a canister of Hydrochloric acid. The students resupply and leave for Debra's house. They get a video stream from Tokyo from a survivor until they lose signal. The radio towers have become unreliable. The only dependable source of information is from the internet, added by bloggers.

When they arrive at Debra's house they assume that her family are still missing but find the reanimated corpses of her mother and brother who they fight off. They escape the house and decide to travel back to Ridley's mansion. Members of the real National Guard stop and rob them. The leader of the unit enters the RV and forces Jason at point blank to turn off his camera while they rob the RV. They steal all but the weapons (the bow and a shotgun) and run off shooting their rifles in the air.

The group watches video feed from a zombie hunting group. The group enter a building and find an old couple, who warn them not to come in. The group enters anyway and one of their members is attacked by a zombie. They kill three of them then the three uninjured men debate over whether or not to kill the couple for not telling them about their family members. The injured member kills the old couple before taking his own life.

They arrive at Ridley's mansion to an unlocked front door and find it abandoned. A bookcase in the mansion opens to reveal a Panic Room where a delusional Ridley stumbles out. He brings the group on a grand tour and then explains that his father was the first to turn, followed by a few of the servants and his mother and that Francine was attacked by his butler. He invites Debra and Tony to follow him outside to where he buried his family and the servants. It turns out that he did not bury them, but just put them in the pool.

Ridley locks the two in the pool room and runs away to the house where he transforms and begins to hunt the group. The professor hears the commotion and runs into the panic room with the shotgun. Ridley attacks Tracy and Jason at the RV, before Jason distracts Ridley long enough for Tracy to knock him out. She then runs to the RV and drives away, angry at Jason for filming rather than helping. Ridley travels back to the house and pushes another member of the group into a bathtub; this member becomes electrocuted.

The survivors go back to the panic room for a while, but Ridley returns and infects Jason. The professor cuts through Ridley's head with a sword and then Debra shoots Jason. Debra watches the video on Jason's camera and sees his last message, about his happiness to be documenting the events, apparently filmed right before his attack. Debra decides to continue the video.

In the morning they awake to see the staff of the mansion who were in the pool have made their way out and were breaking into the mansion. The professor, Debra, and Tony lock themselves in the panic room. Inside Debra watches the last thing Jason downloaded. Two men had formed a zombie hunting group and had tied three zombies to trees as targets. The last one was a woman hanging from a tree by her hair. They shot her in the lower part of her head, allowing the rest of the body to fall without causing the brain to be destroyed; the eyes can clearly be seen to be still moving. After seeing this, Debra wonders whether people are worth saving.

Cast

Quentin Tarantino, Wes Craven, M. Night Shyamalan, Guillermo del Toro, Simon Pegg, Josh S. Clair, and Stephen King lend their voices as newscasters on the radio.[5] Shawn Roberts also appeared in Land of the Dead, making him the tenth actor to appear in at least two of Romero's zombie films, after Simon Pegg, Joseph Pilato, Tom Savini, Gregory Nicotero, Boyd Banks, John Amplas, Alan van Sprang, Taso N. Stavrakis and Romero himself. Of the aforementioned ten, Romero and Nicotero have made appearances in three films, with Alan van Sprang set to join them upon the release of the next installment, Survival of the Dead.

Re-establishing the Dead franchise

The film is the fifth film in Romero's Dead series[6] and there are some notable references to earlier Romero films. One example of this is the same news track from Night of the Living Dead (1968), is used in the scene where the cast is in the garage of Ben.

However, the film is not a direct sequel to any of Romero's films. The film was "an attempt to re-establish a profitable franchise," the film is "a rejigging of the myth" says Romero,[2] and is meant as a side story during the same timeframe as Night of the Living Dead. Even though the fourth film, Land of the Dead (2005), was studio-produced through Universal Studios, Diary of the Dead was produced by Romero-Grunwald Productions, formed by Romero and his producer friend Peter Grunwald, with Artfire Films.[7]

Production

Romero announced the film in August 2006 after signing a deal to write and direct it.[7] Filming began its four-week shoot in Toronto on October 19, 2006.[3]

Despite the low production budget, somewhere around 2 million dollars,[8] director George Romero made extensive use of computer-generated imagery, because it allowed him to shoot the film quickly and add the effects later. Also, the film's style, as if shot with hand-held cameras, necessitated a shift from his usual method of working, which involves filming multiple camera angles and assembling scenes in the editing room. Instead, Romero filmed much of the action in long, continuous takes: "The camera was 360, so everybody was an acrobat, ducking under the lens when the camera came past you," said Romero. "The cast was great. They had a lot of theater experience. I think they could have gone from scene one all the way to the end of the movie, all in a single shot."[9]

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Midnight Madness on September 8, 2007.[10] According to a poll taken by the Toronto Star, it was one of the most anticipated films at the Festival.[11] Just four days later, The Weinstein Company announced that it had purchased the rights to distribute Diary of the Dead in the United States and Mexico for $2.5 million. There, Dimension Films are distributing the film.

DVD and Blu-Ray releases

The DVD was released by The Weinstein Company and Genius Entertainment on May 20, 2008. Special features include a feature-length documentary, an audio commentary, deleted scenes, Behind the Scenes featurette, and five short films that came about via a MySpace contest. It was released the same day as a new authorized edition of Night of the Living Dead on DVD was released by The Weinstein Company.[12]

The film was released on Region 2 on June 29, 2008, in single disc,[13] double disc and blu-ray editions.[14] The double-disc and blu-ray both contained a UK exclusive interview from Frightfest 08, and a feature length documentary entitled One for the Fire - The Legacy of Night of the Living Dead. The double-disc edition was released in limited, numbered steelbook packaging, and online retailer play.com sold an exclusive edition in a slipcase.[15] On October 21, 2008, a Blu-ray version was released in the United States.

Reception

George Romero won a 2008 Critics Award for Diary of the Dead. The film received mixed reviews, with a slight majority being positive. Most reviewers acknowledged that Romero is still the master of the genre, and that the film was as enjoyable as Romero's previous entries in the 'Dead pentalogy, and that it also retained Romero's social commentary. The film currently has a "fresh" rating of 60% on Rotten Tomatoes[16], making it the lowest rated entry in Romero's series.

References

  1. ^ "Diary of the Dead". boxofficemojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=diaryofthedead.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b c "Diary of the Dead, Teeth and Quarantine Get Dates!". Bloody-Disgusting.com. 2007-11-01. http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/10343. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Diary of the Dead shooting and more Cast!". MoviesOnline. http://www.moviesonline.ca/movienews_10214.html. Retrieved 2006-10-29. 
  4. ^ DeDekker, Jeff (2006-10-21). "Regina actress makes her mark in 'Booky' role". Regina Leader-Post. http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/arts_life/story.html?id=537eea96-604b-4adc-bbc5-f6eb293b7daf. Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  5. ^ "Capone With George A. Romero!!". http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35671. 
  6. ^ Kincaid, Nina (2006-08-30). "Script Review: Romero's "Diary of the Dead"". Flixens. http://www.flixens.com/script_review_romeros_diary_of_the_dead. Retrieved 2006-09-14. 
  7. ^ a b . The film was produced by Romero's company and many might say it fulfills Romero's modern Dead film better than the mixed reviewed Land of the Dead. That being said, many stylistic conventions of previous Romero Dead films are absent. The film has virtually no musical soundtrack which has been a Romero staple (Specifically Dawn of the Dead with Goblin). Since the film is captured by internal sources (within the film and narrative) Romero's long still shots and crafty moving cranes are virtually absent. Since the film is taking on a different concept, and "re-establishing" a legendary horror tale, this all makes sense. McClintock, Pamela (2006-08-24). "Romero will raise 'Dead'". Variety.com. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117948964?categoryid=1236&cs=1&query=romero&display=romero. Retrieved 2006-09-14. 
  8. ^ and another 17 million was pledged just for the legal fallout but is still in arbitration. The zombie king returns to the 'Dead' - CNN.com
  9. ^ Hollywood Gothique: "Talking about 'Diary of the Dead'"
  10. ^ TIFF '07 - Films & Schedules George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead
  11. ^ Romero's 'Diary' breathes new life into the dead - USATODAY.com
  12. ^ FANGORIA - America's Horror Magazine
  13. ^ Single disc dvd on play.com
  14. ^ Blu-ray release on play.com
  15. ^ Play.com Exclusive double-disc dvd
  16. ^ http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/diary_of_the_dead/

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Diary of the Dead is a 2007 film about a group of young film students run into real-life zombies while filming a horror movie of their own. Directed and written by George A. Romero.Rated R for strong horror violence and gore, and pervasive language

Looter: What the fuck are you doing here?
Jason: What the fuck are you doing here?
Looter: :[holding TV] I'm just stealing shit. But you... what's a guy with a video camera doing in the women's dorm, huh?

[last lines]
Debra: Jason once said he thought he could help, maybe even save some lives. This is the last thing he downloaded before he died: a couple of hometown Joes who went out to shoot at targets. But that day, they used people. Dead people. You know, just for fun? There was one target that was different from the rest. A woman... tied by her hair to the branch of a tree. The boys had this one set up just for kicks. They got out their favorite 12 gauge and...

[zombie's head is blown in half]

Debra: Are we worth saving? You tell me.

Tracy Thurman: Can somebody please explain to me why girls in scary movies always have to, like, fall down and lose their shoes and shit? It's totally lame. And why do we always have to get our dresses torn off?
Ridley Wilmott: Actually, I'm looking forward to that part.

Debra:It's funny. You spend so much time resenting your parents, separating yourself, building your own life. But as soon as the shit hits the fan, the only place you want to go is home.

Gordo Thorsen: Gordo Thorson, Danville, Pennsylvania.
Tracy Thurman: Tracy Thurman. We're, uh... we're together.
Gordo Thorsen: [hugging Tracy] Forever.
Tracy Thurman: Uh, yeah. We'll see.

Tracy Thurman: Don't mess with Texas!

Asian Woman: Don't bury dead. First shoot in head.
Colonel: [to Jason] Turn it the fuck off.

[points gun barrel directly at the camera lense]

Colonel: Now.







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