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quietearth [Celluloid 07.28.07] post apocalyptic zombies movie review

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Year: 2007
Release Date: August 27th, 2007 (Region 2 only)
Director: Michael Bartlett & Kevin Gates
Writers: Michael Bartlett & Kevin Gates
Cataclysm type: Zombies (caused by Virus)
IMDB entry: IMDB
Trailer: link
Amazon link: link (Region 2 only)
Post apocalyptic concentration: 5 out of 10
"Mad Max" level: 0 out of 10
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 7 out of 10
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Key Characters:
Diary 1 "The Outbreak" -
Andy (Craig Stovin)
Vanessa (Anna Blades)
Leeann (Victoria Nalder)
Matt (Jonathan Ball)
Diary 2 "The Scavengers" -
Elizabeth (Alison Mollon)
Greg (Kyle Sparks)
John (Jonnie Hurn)
Diary 3 "The Survivors" -
Sue (Imogen Church)
Goke (Russell Jones)
Geoff (James Fisher)
Anna (Sophia Ellis)
James (Will Tosh)
Amine (Ralph Mondi)




Overview:
Part fake documentary, part movie, this tale revolves around an unknown virus and how it's causing some type of "zombie" outbreak. There are 3 seperate stories in the film:



1. A documentary film crew are covering the outbreak of the virus and head into the country to do some interviews with local residents and get some footage.
2. A husband and wife escape London, scavenging the empty towns and picking up a mysterious hitchhiker along the way.
3. A group of survivors have holed up in a farmhouse and clean up the zombie problems as they arrive.



The Story:
We start with the military clearing some buildings in what looks like a farm complex. Then things go silent, the biohazard team is taking samples from the dead. Cut to diary 1, "The Outbreak", where our documentary crew is interviewing people on the street, and an apparent school administrator who explains what the government has advised should the virus hit the schools. She states that she was told that the molecular structure of the virus was similar to the bird flu. They then head to the country and are unable to find anyone in a small town to interview or otherwise. Then their car breaks down. By day everything looks fine, but by night, they run into the zombies and escape into the woods.



Diary 2 is set one month later, with a husband, wife and a stranger they had previously picked up headed towards a town for supplies. The husband is American and they mention that they wished they lived in a more gun friendly society (something I always wondered about). As they arrive, the streets are empty and trash is blowing around. They look for radio parts and food, but are quickly found by zombies and escape in their car.



Diary 3 doesn't specify when it's set, but you get the impression it's at least a month after the outbreak. It starts with the "survivors" shooting the zombies which are shambling towards the farm they've taken over. It's raining, so they wait till night to burn the bodies.

As you can probably guess, all these stories intersect at some point.



The Rating:
As you probably know, I'm a huge zombie fan, so this movie was like sweets to a little kid. The acting was good, the zombie effects good, and overall it was a great movie. It also has some pretty sick and twisted horror thrown in (for all the horror fans out there). I hope they eventually release this in America, but I didn't get any confirmed plans from Michael about this. You may be thinking this sounds like Romero's upcoming movie, well from everything I've read, it's not. They are completely different and only share the word "Diary" in the title.

There were some problems with the film, specifically that it needed more zombies! The filmed seemed to concentrate more on the human condition, including the psychopath (hint). Also, I wanted to see more of the outside world, but we always have this complaint. This is why it gets a 7 out of 10, and again, don't worry, I barely told you anything, just go see it! PS. See if you can find the obvious night of the living dead homage.

Thanks to Michael for the screener!

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Anonymous (7 years ago) Reply

The release in italy is this month so it'll prabably be a while before it hits here.

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bite me (7 years ago) Reply

another rip off... can any1 say 28 weeks later?

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Jerry Raile (7 years ago) Reply

I don't know whether or not this reviewer sees something in this film that I'm not catching on, because I really did not like this film. My wife bought a copy (we fancy zombies) from HMV a few weeks ago. About thirty minutes into our first (and last) viewing, we couldn't stop laughing. It was horribly ridiculous. The acting, the lack of any real story, the poorly-executed "student film" fashion- the lot made me cover my face in embarassment. Embarassment for ever having this film playing in my own home, let alone losing some money. We managed to get a refund a few days later.

Let this be a lession: Never pay for clever package art.

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quietearth (7 years ago) Reply

I reviewed it as shown at the top, and I really have to disagree with you on the acting, I thought it was good, the only problem being that it seriously lacked zombie action. I will say that this was a very controversial film, it either got great reviews, or people hated it..

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jesse lindsay (6 years ago) Reply

i own over 2000 dvds,this is in the top 100,at least for now.

the acting is great,the fxs are well done and its got a lot of REALLY good horror elements in it ASIDE from the zombies (which there should have been more of)

the only down fall is the low amount of zombies and gore compared to others but its story line is a lot better then most horror movies i have seen in years.

the only reason anyone would compare this to 28 days/weeks later is its geography.other then that there nothing alike.
28 weeks later sucked,this movie did not.

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dave richardson (6 years ago) Reply

I thought the movie was an interesting twist but it felt slightly amateurish- possibly because of the low budget-and I felt it would have worked as a student type showcase on the web but one shouldn't have had to pay to see it.

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quietearth (6 years ago) Reply

yes this movie has gotten mixed reviews.. but they did get picked up by weinstein among others.

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Liam (6 years ago) Reply

This is a great movie... I wished there was more zombies in it... that said...
it just shows with out emotion... the horror of a zombie break out... some scenes were v. scarey... i.e. the zombie in the bedroom

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Anonymous (6 years ago) Reply

The Acting was shit, the script was shit, the DoP was shit but the make up was pretty decent.

If you thought the acting was good your either to obsessed with zombies to not alike a zombie movie or just really stupid

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Luis Peres (6 years ago) Reply

One of the best zombie movies ever and i think Romero should take notes also because this movie is far far superior to his own Diary of the Dead effort. Everything that failed in the new Romero movie is totaly spot on in The Zombie Diaries.
I´ve seen Diary of the Dead two nights ago and seen this one last night and altough with a similar style there´s no way to compare both movies as this one is clearly a superior movie to Romero´s.
In The Zombie Diaries, we actualy feel like we´re watching some lost tapes and the spontaneaty is totaly real, wich is something that fails in Diary of the Dead where it seems all the time there was a strong effort to make the movie feel real.
The Zombie Diaries is also not devoid of social comentary but at least it´s not throwned at our faces everytime a character says a line of dialogue.
I love the old Romero stuff, but by now it´s becoming evident to me that the best zombie movies realy come nowadays from England not the EUA.
And Shawn of the Dead also rules ! :)

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Darren Rodriguez (6 years ago) Reply

In response to the poster who wrote "If you thought the acting was good your either to obsessed with zombies to not alike a zombie movie or just really stupid" to the reviewer ........

Let me tell you - IF YOU think the acting is bad you clearly know NOTHING about 'acting'.

Diary of the Dead and Cloverfield are examples of 'bad' acting. Watch those films, and note the contrived and almost 'computer game' way the people behave. They don't behave like normal people - this is called bad acting.

In Zombie Diaries, the people behave like regular human beings. This is called good acting. Take the first zombie discovery in the farm house, or the moment they find the girl in the barn, or the moment the child is shot. I challenge you to find any moment in Diary of the Dead that has 'acting'/realism anywhere near that level.

I'm sorry to have to condescend to you, but you clearly have no understanding of film or performance if you can write the kind of drivel you have and attack the reviewer in the way you did. I don't normally respond to comments, but yours personified a lot of the brain-dead (excuse the pun) 'home reviewers' out there, who need to be set straight about what good and bad acting is.

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ZOMBIE EXPERT (6 years ago) Reply

Well said Darren!!

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Victoria in Kirkland Lake, Ontario (5 years ago) Reply

Maybe it's just because it's late at night, but my husband and I had a hard time following parts of the plot - we think we got the twist at the end with the guy at the farm who was wearing the black jacket, and doing nasty things with a blonde zombie in the barn - he was with the curly-haired guy in the forest, right, with the zombie tied down on the forest floor? Okay, so then they got after the news crew, from Diary 1 - but what ended up happening to the blonde producer? Was she the one being abused in the barn? Or was she the one in the blue blanket found by the soldiers? I found it was a bit hard to follow because many of the cast members looked a lot alike, with little to distinguish them - like, at least Sue had curly hair and some height, and the one guy had a beard, which was helpful... anyway, if someone could clarify, I would be most grateful.

PS - really enjoying zombie flicks coming from across the pond; too bad none of our Canuck directors are contributing to the genre! Then again, it's so cold up here, all you'd have to do is hole up until winter, and then they'd be frozen in their tracks - not much for story.

Unless they thawed like roaches in the spring...

Cheers!

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bob barker (5 years ago) Reply

THIS MOVIE SUCKS COMPLETELY IF I COULD TRADE THIS FOR A SANDWICH I WOULD, I WANT TO RETURN THIS MOVIE THE COVER HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! COMPLETELY NOT WORTH THE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Anonymous (5 years ago) Reply

dont waste your time, seriously!!!

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Rafe (5 years ago) Reply

I wasted money on this rental. This is the biggest largest turd to be craped out by off brand movie producers. A compleat fucking wast of time.

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ManimalX (5 years ago) Reply

I just picked Zombie Diaries up at Wal-Mart. The cool cover art and back cover comparisons to '28 Days Later' convinced me to make the purchase. A few thoughts:

1) The cover art has NOTHING to do with the movie AT ALL. False advertising by people who can't just sell the actual product they made without deception really REALLY ticks me off.

2) The filming and directing were very decent. Other "diary" type films such as Blair Witch and Cloverfield are horrible because they overuse the shaky-cam. "Ohhhh we are really amateurs here! Really! We aren't trying to make a movie at all! See how much the camera shakes! Only amateurs here!" Zombie Diaries does a good job in its presentation as "video journals". The night shots are the only time the shaky-cam is a bit overdone, but it isn't excessive and lends itself to the confusion that goes along with running around in pitch dark. The shooting locations were also beautiful, and the actual directing of each scene was pretty good.

3) That being said, the acting was HORRIBLE. There were a FEW passable performances, but overall it was undeniably atrocious. Coupled with a SUPER forced and unatrual dialogue, it made for a lot of cringing during the film, which would be good if the cringing was because of the ZOMBIES and not the acting jobs.

Someone above said that the actors acted like real people would.... this is a bunch of bologna and if you think that is how real people talk and act, you seriously need to get out in public more! There was one particular bloke who was TRYING to act like he was American (I think), but his failed attempt to hide his British accent and the horribly stilted dialogue actually had my wife and I laughing out loud.

4) It WAS a bit hard (as someone noted above) to tell who was who without the visual cues like a beard or curly hair. I am also confused by the ending, because I couldn't tell who the blonde found by the soldiers were. I am sure it is quite a good twist of an ending somehow, but neither I nor my wife got it.

All of that being said, it was still a passable Zombie flick, and if you can pick it up for $5 or MAYBE $10, it is worth the purchase. It had a lot to say about the human condition, that being humanity is deeply sinful and depraved, though it doesnt do much with that message. Can we be saved from our depravity? If so, who is the savior? Is it the real Savior Christ, or hippie butterflies, unicorns, and rainbows?

Anyhow, Zombie Diaries was definitely not on the same level as the standards of good modern Zombie flicks such 28 Days Later or I Am Legend, but it was a valiant and passably entertaining contribution to the genre.

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Renegade (5 years ago) Reply

This film was probably one of the worst zombie films i have ever seen (and I have seen a lot).

It had 2 good points, which drag it up from the worse zombie film honour, firtly it tried to explain how a "slow" zombie infection could take hold so quickly without just infection via bite. Secondly you had the psychopath which was a nice touch.

The bad points are numerous.

1: Slow zombies, if you are using slow zombies then you have to have the characters in a situation where they are trapped, blocked in etc. In this film I felt that the zombies were no threat at all, I laughed out loud when one victim (actually I think he was the only victim in the film that was alive when the zombie nabbed him) was sat in a car when a ninja zombie sneaked up and bit him (anyone that unobservant deserves to die). The other laugh out loud bit was at the market when they come outside and see a line of about 8-10 zombies about 30 yards away - cue panic - WHY? "Oh no we only have about 2 minutes before they manage to shamble into range, quick, quick." It would have been simpler to wander over with a baseball bat and bash their brains in then go back to shopping. If you wanted to make it better then put a zombie or 2 in the dimly lit store, hidden away until it grabs the leg or arm of the unwary...

2: Shaky cam - while this is a standard in low production value cinema I find it really annoying (thats just a personal thing but i dont believe it added much to the film).

3: Characters - I didn't get attached to any of the characters, we never got to know them really and thus never cared about them. I couldn't remember their names let alone care who killed them.

4: Acting - I am unsure whether the acting was good or bad, they had a script and they ran with it, if they were trying to portray people with minimal survival skills who panic a lot then i guess they pulled it off, the acting was not memorable though even if the script wasnt much to work with.

5: Advertising - the cover is a complete delusion, I think I counted about 20 zombies
in the entire film and never did I feel as if I was confronted with a horde even in an implied sense.

6: Realism - Why waste ammunition on zombies when you dont need to, just get an eye mask if you are worried about blood splatter and baseball bat them in the head, I mean its not as if they shuffle very quickly is it...

Also if i had just uncovered evidence that one member of my survivor community was 90% likely to be a homicidal maniac then quite frankly I would have waited for him to turn his back and then shoot him in the head - I mean its not as if we need to worry about the police doing you for excessive force is it :P

I noticed a comparison to the romero diary effort and I dont agree, although I didnt like the romero diary effort much either (compared to his other films), at least it had better production values and you had time to get to know the characters somewhat.

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Anonymous (5 years ago) Reply

Terrible film. I really like Zombie films, the whole genre, will watch pretty much any Zombie related thing.

This was awful. The Acting killed it for me, it had the feel of an ameuter dramatic society play. Criminally bad. I never normally turn off a Zombie film, but I gave this one up after about 40 minutes.

Only scary bit in the the entire film was the zombie in the farmhouse bedroom.

Shit film. Only watch this if you are a diehard Zombie fan (I did) - but prepared to be disappointed.

Shit. Shit. Shit. Avoid. Shit. Shit.

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Darron (5 years ago) Reply

In response to the poster who wrote "If you thought the acting was good your either to obsessed with zombies to not alike a zombie movie or just really stupid" to the reviewer ........

Let me tell you - IF YOU think the acting is bad you clearly know NOTHING about 'acting'.

Diary of the Dead and Cloverfield are examples of 'bad' acting. Watch those films, and note the contrived and almost 'computer game' way the people behave. They don't behave like normal people - this is called bad acting.

In Zombie Diaries, the people behave like regular human beings. This is called good acting. Take the first zombie discovery in the farm house, or the moment they find the girl in the barn, or the moment the child is shot. I challenge you to find any moment in Diary of the Dead that has 'acting'/realism anywhere near that level.

I'm sorry to have to condescend to you, but you clearly have no understanding of film or performance if you can write the kind of drivel you have and attack the reviewer in the way you did. I don't normally respond to comments, but yours personified a lot of the brain-dead (excuse the pun) 'home reviewers' out there, who need to be set straight about what good and bad acting is.

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Salim (5 years ago) Reply

This film was probably one of the most realistic zombie films i have ever seen (and I have seen a lot).

My feelings:

1: Slow zombies - much more realistic that springint zombies

2: Shaky cam - added to the realism - it felt like you were in the middle of an outbreak

3: Characters - no character development whatsoever - which is exactly true to life. No life affirming arcs - this is filmmaking showing what it is like to be in the trenches of humanity on the brink of extinction

4: Acting - very realistic and natural

5: Advertising - the cover is a complete delusion, I think I counted about 20 zombies
in the entire film and never did I feel as if I was confronted with a horde even in an implied sense.

6: Realism - Spot on!

7. Budget - for what they did on £8,100 - the filmmakers should be given medals. It's a shame most people don't understand what they achieved (A thinking man's zombie film) on limited resources.

I noticed a comparison to the romero diary effort and I dont agree - this film is way better, in a league of its own.

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bill (5 years ago) Reply

for anyone to say this movie is better than romero's diary of the dead or 28 days later is complete nonsense.

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Chris usa (5 years ago) Reply

This movie goes with the rest of the crappy zombie movies I have wasted my money on, like romeros. I only liked how the people actually had the common sense to put the camera down when needed...but I wanted more zombies. It was a waste of 10 bucks...

Why can't they make more zombie movies like Dawn of the Dead?

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Brent the critic (5 years ago) Reply

I bought this movie for $9 at Walmart. I should be payed $9 just to have watched this waste of time. From the beginning of this millennium has been an onslaught of terrible, below even the earliest B-movie attempts at zombie greatness. The worst being that these horrible movies are plaguing our local movie rental facilities, such as blockbuster. My question is how can a movie of such low standards be represented and sold next to movies of any worth. My review of this movie is two severed thumbs down.

I don't understand how anyone can condone this movie unless to be seen for free or more reasonable paid to see it.
For all those who agree with me are those who really know their zombie movies. Those who think this movie is good or "great" should probably never have any input on any zombie movie to be made in the future.

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kyzhunters (5 years ago) Reply

I waited until this movie hit the $5 mark at Walmart thankfully. By the end of the movie I was hoping that they would all be eaten. "Hey, let's wait until it's night and then run around in the woods!" "Okay, but let me check these bushes again!" "Yeah, sorry, I forgot to check the bushes earlier." "That's okay, just don't to forget to check the bushes again, or we'll be in trouble with Goke." "Yeah, we don't want to be in trouble with Goke...we really need him!" "Should we barricade this sturdy old farm house and arm ourselves with some heavy, blunt objects.' "No dammit, we stick with the plan: keep checking the bushes and running around in the dark." "Should we take the truck and go look for food?" "No we're almost out fuel and we need that for burning the bodies." "Yeah, we need to burn the bodies or Goke will be mad at us and then we won't be allowed to run around in the dark and check the bushes." 'Yeah, that would suck." "Yeah."

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Anonymous (4 years ago) Reply

This movie was such a waste of time. It was so horrible that my forein exhange student from Japan saw it with me and went back to Japan after having an anurism.

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Anonymous (4 years ago) Reply

awesome movie... just watched it

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Scott (4 years ago) Reply

This movie was a turd waiting to be flushed. Strong words, but true. I won't disparage the acting because the people might have been a bit off but they at least seemed like they were dealing with something serious.

The problems with this movie revolved mainly around how idiotic the people in it were. How these were the survivors of note is beyond me. At least the military wasn't shown as being evil sadistic gangs in camouflage waiting to come in and take over.

Issues I had with the movie:

1. They did not see fit to put a bullet in Goke.

Reason I dislike this: The guy is useless, distracting, and obviously off his nut. Then they discover his little secret and.. just do nothing.. oh hi GOKE.. how ya doin.. hehehe..

2. The only character I remember is Goke. This equals movie suckage.

Reason: It's obvious. I don't know anything about these idiots.

3. The characters are blithering idiots.

Reason: Day one, I can expect people to die like this. On day thirty or later I expect people to not get gnawed on while sitting in a car with the door wide open. Hello.. seriously.. close the door or at least ya know.. look up every twenty minutes or so considering how slow those things moves.

4. I wanted them to die

Reason: These people are idiots. They slaughtered their cattle.. when they had perfectly good grazing land.. but left the DOGS alive.. the loud barking dogs.

They wasted fuel burning bodies.. when they could have just as easily have dragged them off into the distance.

They go OUTSIDE at night and shoot zombies.. instead of erecting a firing tower.. or a shooting blind. Heck. even fortifying the house and shooting the zombies from the roof. No.. let's just wander around in the dark with flashlights and guns..

We're shopping at the store.. oh no.. like a good dozen zombies are half a parking lot away.. however can we deal with this crises.. it's not like we can just drive to the other side of the story and keep shopping..or just beat them in the head with a nice shovel since they move like slugs..

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Coelacanth1938 (3 years ago) Reply

Dudes, this has to be one of the worst films I've even seen, let alone the worst zombie film I've ever seen. This thing makes Ed Wood's Robot Monster look like Shakespeare by comparison.

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Richard K. (3 years ago) Reply

Some of the comment 'reviews' here are absolutely laughable.

Zombie Diaries is a rare GREAT zombie flick. Sure, it might be lacking in some departments (all movies do), but it hits exactly the right nails. I'm sorry, but any zombie buff with a soul will love this.

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

I love zombie movies, and I certainly have a soul. But this is terrible. We all know it is on the inside, but most of us just don't want to admit it. Such crap. Also, god I hated the shit out of the "gunshots" to the head. Ever seen someone hit in the head with a .30-06 M1 Garand and all that happens is a juicy little red poof of blood pops up in a 90 degree angle away from the bullet path? Me neither. I wish they had expanded more on the Goke story and made the diary transitions easier to follow though.

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Don of the Dead (3 years ago) Reply

Not only is this the worst zombie film ever, It's the worst film period. Their is no plot in this film. Any movie that has a plot is already better then this cinematic abomination. The setting is not the plot. The film just has people recording other people loitering around the woods and some guys farm. Nothing was properly explained, the film didn't go anywhere and their was no resolution. killing the cast is not a resolution. its a cop out.

Their is no characterization at all. If it wasn't for the credits i wouldn't even what the characters names were.

The camera work was awful too. Either it was too dark, too shaky or both. I like movies i can see, not ones that make we want to vomit. Even the night vision was too dark.

I'm also curious as to how everyone was getting head shots when it was pitch black out side? And why would someone hide in the woods when they can hide in the house? so many stupid moments i could on forever.

Just because it's different doesn't make it good. This film is not entertaining at all. It's so horrible and boring that i couldn't even laugh or make fun of it.

I always wondered how someone could crew up a zombie movie and this is it. I would rather watch vacation videos of an old couple that i have never met then this garbage again.

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Rod (3 years ago) Reply

I cant help but think that the makers of this film have been going around making fake reviews up so they could then quote the review on the DVD cover and try and boost sales.
Fair enough some people may find this film entertaining, but some reviews make out this is the best horror film of the decade and a masterpeice! A powerhours horror film! Im sorry but how anyone who is not invested in the success of this film could honestly think those things about this film is beyond me.

The characters are boring and you really dont care what happens to them. The film is not exciting and their is rarely any feeling of tenseness or dangers. The acting is not very good, it does not come across as natural. Just because acting is not hollywood fake, does not mean it is good.
The hand held cam is quite annoying too.

Its a good idea for a Zombie film, I just wish someone would do a good job of it as Diary of the Dead was pretty poor too.


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