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Diary of the Dead [Blu-ray]
Diary of the Dead
Actors: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, Shawn Roberts, Amy Ciupak Lalonde, Joe Dinicol
Director: George A. Romero
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2008     1hr 35min

From legendary frightmaster George A. Romero comes "one of the most daring, hypnotic and absolutely vital horror films of the past decade" ( Romero continues his influential "Dead" series, this time focusing ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, Shawn Roberts, Amy Ciupak Lalonde, Joe Dinicol
Director: George A. Romero
Creators: George A. Romero, Ara Katz, Art Spigel, Dan Fireman, Donna Croce, John Harrison, Michael Doherty
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Weinstein Company
Format: Blu-ray - Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/21/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

I can't hate the man at least he tried
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 05/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I thought the film was okay but I know to myself it will never be my favorite out of the bunch. Though it was a documentary I didn't quite catch it as one or for the majority of the film. In here we have a film crew that made up of different characters: The director Jason (Joshua Close) who acts though he believes that if it didn't happen on camera, then it never happened at all. There's his girlfriend Debra (Michelle Morgan) who gets increasingly annoyed with his filming everybody, Tony (Shawn Roberts) who looks like he is prepared to beat Jason to death, and there's even the drunken film professor Maxwell (Scott Wentworth) who looks upon everything with a bemused attachment. What George Romero succeeds in doing as a writer is give us characters who aren't simple types and break those clichés to become increasingly unpredictable in their actions.

Which is one of Romero's strong attributes is that he gives us strong characters with females and minorities. He started doing this a long time ago with "Night Of The Living Dead," and it continues on with this one. The female character that comes across as the strongest here is Debra, played by Michelle Morgan. She is driven to get back to her family who are back at home, and she is not about to get sucked into watching things through a camera lens. Michelle gives the strongest performance in the movie, and she also narrates the movie within the movie, so you have a pretty good idea of what happens to her character. The group does run into a squad of African Americans who have taken over a small town and all its supplies, and who refuse to leave the town. This is because for once, they have power over something that they have never had before, and you could see it as a sort of revenge against the white man for all they have put their people through.

The movie does have its share of good scares, and has that same morbid humor that has been present in all of Romero's "Dead" movies. This does make this film relevant in a way even after four decades after the very first one. The last scene in the movie questions the audience directly as to if we as a race are really worth saving or not. That scene will stay with you long after the movie has ended because the characters have only started to learn how to exist in a post-zombie world (shades of 9/11 do abound here and there).

The suspense was there along with the blood and gore, it was giving to us in a fair dose though not quite on the same level as "Dawn" or "Day." Still, there are some good kills throughout, and the characters make good use of a scythe and a bow and arrow. Romero, after all these years, doesn't skimp on the good stuff. However, it still takes these characters way too long to figure out that the best way to defeat a zombie is to shoot it in the head. Aside from that I was slightly disappointed with this film or documentary. I'm thinking there may be room for another one Romero zombie yet, and there is hope to be had in that even if the world is still falling apart. I wouldn't mind seeing him do one more, but I hope it comes out before the apocalypse hits us.
I just saw my dead grandma chew a mans face off on YouTube m
M. B Cole | Las Vegas, NV | 05/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"When a friend comes up to you and tells you he has something for you but the only way you're going to get it before he watches it, is for you to rub his feet and suck on his big toe, you just know he has something good. I laughed and asked him "Come on man... just tell me what it is." He tells me, "I got a copy of Diary of the Dead...sup."

After gargling some mouthwash and wiping my mouth, I stuck Diary of the Dead into my laptop with Zombie glee pouring out my brraaaainnnss. The film begins with one of the best opening scenes to a zombie movie in my opinion. A new cast is filming a gruesome murder scene, to only witness the dead rise and begin to attack. When the lady zombie gets up, you can see her eyes fixated on the camera man from the start, but he's looking at another zombie mainly and sometimes you can see the female getting closer and then BAM in your face. And she looks wicked thanks to the zombie makeup that does not go over the top.

We then come across some college students (our main attraction) who are filming what I'm pretty sure is a low budget Mummy movie. During a break to fix makeup, they learn about how the dead are rising. Whether it's real or not, everyone decides to go home. Two head to the `Mummy's' house (more like mansion), the rest decide to go get the director's g/f and then everyone at once head to their parents houses which are, thankfully, on the way to someone else's parents house. While on the road, they are basically safe, but it's during the stops that the troubles begin.

The story was great and the zombies were fantastic. I can see what Romero was doing here and I totally enjoyed it, but there were things that just really bothered me about the movie and I'll got into a little detail for them

1. The acting was atrocious. The movie is supposed to be filmed like a documentary, but the acting seemed like acting. None of it had a real feel to me. I saw actors, trying to act like, they weren't acting. And bad acting doesn't bother me, it's just the fact that it kept taking me out of what I was supposed to be feeling, and that was that I was watching a documentary.

2. The camera. The documentary feel doesn't bother me. I liked how Cloverfied was filmed because I KNEW that it was supposed to FEEL like a documentary. And that's what it felt like. This though felt more staged. To me Diary felt more like a videogame the way it was filmed. Like I was watching a rail camera.. It felt like HUD was actually behind the camera in Cloverfield. Jason Creed, well, he felt more like a camera machine and not a human. Yeah I'm sure this helped a lot with the shaky camera problem that a lot of people hated about Clovefield and made them run out to get Dramamine pills for, but it took away from the REALNESS that I believe Romero wanted for the movie. What I meant about the rail camera above was that it felt like certain scenes were choreographed to give us a scare or put action into the scene. Sure I know ALL scenes in ALL movies are choreographed, but they don't FEEL like it. Hopefully you get what I'm saying, I might be having trouble trying to explain it.

3. CG was used. I couldn't believe this. On little things such as gunshots to the head cg was used. Blood splatter from the back of the head was CG. That really pissed me off cause I hate when CG is used for things that special effects artists can CLEARLY make look better with actual real life blood packets and whatever other cool gadgets they got. There was one scene where the CG was used correctly and looked really good and it involved acid. Sure we've seen acid scenes before with make-up effects or whatever, but this looked really good. But it doesn't make up for the other countless CG effects that could've been easily done the good old fashioned way.

4. The editing on some scenes made me scratch my head in befuddlement. I get the fact that Romero is giving us a lesson on how we are using camera, phone cameras, whatever else is out there gadget wise, to film everything around us now. But I don't need that to ruin a good scene for me. In one part, the Winnebago the crew is driving, runs over a group of zombies. Well right when we are getting ready to see a nice scene, the camera switches over to one of the camera phones somebody was using. So we don't get the good sound or video we were witnessing. It goes to a very crappy looking and sounding shot of these zombies getting run over. I was pissed at that.

In the end, I get the message. The media. The constant updating of OUR lives. The youtubes and MySpaces. The car wreck syndrome. The `not really being there feel' when you are behind the camera. I get it. But when I'm watching a zombie movie, I'm watching it for the zombies first and..well..second. The message can go in there somewhere also, but I REALLY could care less. I want my carnage. I want my blood. I want my gore. I want my feel of hopelessness. I got what I wanted, but I honestly think Romero could've done better. Will I watch this again? Hell yes. It's better than a LOT of the zombie movies out now. I will own it also and spend the extra dough on the blu-ray version as well. I think EVERYONE should at least rent it and give it a try. Just don't going in it's going to be blockbuster quality because it's just not... in my opinion.

To my zombie and gore friends, please don't hate me for giving this 3 stars... lol. I just have to rate it how I feel.

P.S. The scene looking out of the barn via the camera was very cool looking.
A vast improvement over the previous outing
M. Ryan Fairbanks | Cleveland, Ohio | 03/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Being independently made, Diary of the Dead was difficult to find in its limited theatrical release. However I took a little drive to see it and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed Romero's 2005's Land of the Dead, but I was a bit put off by the big budget feel of it, its many attempts at comic relief, and its lack of continuity with the previous three films. However, Diary of the Dead makes it clear from the start that it serves no purpose as a sequel and is its own interpretation of the zombie epidemic.

Vaguely similar to Cannibal Holocaust, Diary utilizes the "film within a film" type of idea. This is about a group of college film makers who are busy at work when reports of the dead returning to life begin appearing across news stations. In an attempt to be the documenter of the historic event, one student insists upon filming everything that is occurring as him and his classmates flee to their respective homes. What we are watching here is his account of the fiasco entitled "The Death of Death", which makes up the entire film up until the final moments.

The vast majority of the film takes place on the road in an RV as the film makers attempt to evade the zombies and reach safety. The occassional pit stops are usually the scenes involving the zombies, and as you'd expect Romero lays the gore on pretty thick here with a couple truly impressive death scenes. Diary incorporates a lot of modern technology into the film as the film maker attempts to upload his footage onto the internet to benefit the living. Cell phones and youtube are also incorporated into the plot putting a modern spin on the movie, and demonstrating why it could not possibly have served continuity with the previous films while maintaining sense. As the epidemic spreads, the herd of students thins until a select few remain in the fight for survival. The film is rather inconclusive storywise, but the overall message illustrated seems to be criticizing those who feel the need to document tragic events rather than be a solution to the problem as the final line states, "Are we worth saving?".

Overall, although the film had the makings of a modern horror film with its sharp picture and CGI laden effects, the feel of it was the closest to a good old school horror flick I've seen in a while. While I would certainly not consider Diary of the Dead Romero's crowning achievement, I have to say it's a drastic step up from Land of the Dead and typical modern day horror films in general. It's a shame this didn't see wider release theatrically. If you didn't have a chance to see it in the theater, I definietly recommend picking up this DVD when it hits the shelves, you will not be dissapointed."
The horror of modern technology
C. Christopher Blackshere | I am the devil's reject | 05/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Good evening. This is Tom with Channel 4 news. The stock market crashed as oil prices hit record highs. The unemployment rate ballooned nearly 10% the past month while crime keeps escalating at an alarming rate. Home equity plummetted, health care plans are becoming invalid, taxes rose, debt skyrocketed, and the soldier's death toll suffers its most jagged increase since the opening weeks of the war. But to heck with all that irrelevant junk, did you watch American Idol last night? Hahaha, that's some funny stuff!

My biggest problem with the latest Dead installment is the seesaw effect between the serious and the comical. Throw in so much cheese and corn, and it's hard to digest all of the social and political commentary. George makes some great points, some important profound statements, and then shows something totally absurd to spoil the moment. I didn't particularly care for that.
I've got some more issues with this one. The acting is pretty bad, but that didn't really bother me. Neither did the CGI. I hated the tone, or the mood of this entire story. George never really establishes a dark, gloomy, foreboding atmosphere. In my opinion, an adequate feel of desperation never settles in, I'm sorry to say.
I did love the idea of the homemade zombie documentary. Romero tries to bring a fresh element to the horror genre, and for that he should be commended. But the camera work was not too convincing. It rarely has a real feel. And I was shocked at how underdeveloped the characters are. Maybe this story is about people as a whole, but some closer connection with some individuals would have been nice.

Diary of the Dead starts strong, but quickly fizzles out in many aspects. There are some nice gore scenes, although it seemed to be lacking in that department a bit. It has some undeniably great pieces from the master, but are bogged down by chunks of disaster. I will say that I'm impressed with Romero's efforts at something original in the zombie saga. Hopefully his latest effort will grow on me."