Friday, February 15, 2013

Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead

Description from Netflix:
When they accept an invitation to an exclusive party at a remote farm, seven strangers who love scary movies find themselves unwilling participants in a nightmarish role-playing game that pays homage to a classic horror film.

Notable actors: Courtney Gains, Sid Haig

My thoughts:
First of all, Courtney Gains and Sid Haig were in the movie for a combined 5 minutes, which was pretty disappointing.

The movie has a solid premise.  Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I'm a sucker for a good meta horror movie.  Cabin in the Woods.  Behind the Mask.  Scream.  And so on.  A good movie like this can offer a fresh perspective on the genre.
And, as you should also know (based on the name of this blog), I love a good zombie movie.  Like any good zombie-lover, one of my favorite zombie movies is Night of the Living Dead.  I've seen it countless times, and I love it a little more every time I watch it.
All those things being said, this movie should be right up my alley.  A meta-zombie movie.  Beyond that, an imaginative take on the most influential zombie movie ever made.  I should love this.

Sadly, I didn't love it.  Again, I really liked the premise.  But that was my favorite part of the movie.
The characters were confusing.  Everyone that was trapped in the house (with the exception of one of the characters) were assumed to be big horror movie fans.  They all met at a horror convention.  Presumably, they knew their stuff.
And still, it took roughly 30 minutes for any of the characters to realize they were reliving Night of the Living Dead.  Six massive horror fans and it took them that long to figure it out?  They were dressed like the characters and everything.

Beyond that, once one of the characters realized what was going on, no one remembered what happened in the movie.  The best they could come up with was, "everyone dies" and "the truck explodes".  That's it.  Any self-respecting horror fan knows Night of the Living Dead like the back of their hands.
At that point, the movie lost all credibility for me.

There were some interesting moments.  And, while the credo of the killers could be summed up by a well-known line from Scream ("Movies don't create psychos; movies make psychos more creative."), the concept was decent enough to carry me through the glut of exposition scenes.

The acting was uneven at best.  I liked a couple of the characters (the girl who took on the role of Barbra was pretty good, and looked quite a bit like Judith O'Dea), but, for the most part, my favorite characters ended up dying off too soon, or being pushed into the background (I could've used less Allen Maldonado, more Lauren Mae Shafer).  And, even for the actors I liked, the script didn't give them much to work with.

For a movie with such an inventive premise, I was pretty disappointed with the film as a whole.  It had its moments, and I may even end up watching it again, but it certainly isn't great.  It comes nowhere close to the level of Cabin in the Woods, Behind the Mask or Scream.

It's always disappointing to me when a movie like this doesn't live up to expectations.  They had a great idea, and just bungled the execution.

Rating: 2/5

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