Movie Review: Diary of the Dead

I hate found footage film. I hate shakey-cam more. I hate preachy writing even more. I got some preachy last movie, and it kind of killed a great job by most of the film’s crew. Now I get the first 2, will I get more preachiness?

We start off with a news crew covering a story about a man killing his family before shooting himself. The family turn into zombies and go after the paramedics and cops, then turn to the film crew. So that’s one way to establish we are in a Zombie movie.

You know, for those who have no idea how Zombies work.

Over in the woods near the University of Pittsburgh, because Romero, and we are shooting a movie. For some reason the big thing is to get the only person from Texas to ever visit the University of Pittsburgh, to show her breasts. Seriously. It seems to be the plot point of this “horror” movie they are shooting. Hearing reports of “mass rioting” they decide to go to one of their parents houses, because nothing says Romero Preachy like a bunch of rich white people fleeing the city. Thankfully, we have a trusty RV to hold everyone.

One of the girls tries to kill herself, so we go to the DUMBEST place to go in a zombie apocalypse, a hospital. We lose people. We get a great bit where a farmer finds them and helps them a bit, one of my favorite parts of the movie, and then we get a meeting with 2 different survivor groups as we continue the journey to go to another member of the gangs rich house.

So how is Diary of the Dead?

Well, we don’t get too preachy until the end- well, we get speechifying, but nothing blatant until the end, and it puts a hurt on the movie, to me. I don’t need an epitaph to a horror movie. Tell me in context, not in a blog. Others get preachy, but it fits the characters, so that’s OK.

I do enjoy the realism here. Lets hit the suburbs where we can defend ourselves, rich people have better security on their homes, and people do stupid things. That includes people from Texas yelling about Texas all the time; (the Actress is NOT from Texas.)

What I do like about this film is we get a lot of realism here. I stated the people with means run to their homes, certain houses do offer protection. I can see the panic rooms being used in a great manner, I can see basic government protections breaking down. People become selfish, and certain people’s base instincts come to the fore. That is a lot of goodness.

What I don’t like:

1) The characters even call it out. The constant filming is just stupid. It’s an unneeded gimmick. Why on earth would you WATCH FRIENDS DIE instead of whacking them with the camera you are holding? Seriously. People die because this A-Hole won’t put down the camera or even yell out. This guy is the worst person on earth. Then they put it together and add music to the end?

Hey, lets watch this documentary where everyone I know dies, and check out the score! Who does this?

2) The internet still works. This is basic, but there are a ton of moving parts to get websites and youtube to work, and I’ll tell you, its not hard to knock them off. True, there are tons of backups, but you have to actually move the backups over. The whole reason for the filming is to post it online so others can learn from it? Uh, that’s like posting what the common cold does to the body. Pretty damn common from what we see.

3) There is no depth to the characters. For some stupid reason, they try to do something with this “confessional” box, and this just stops the movie in it’s tracks. It’s filler. By the time that starts, we have no desire to care about the characters, and after interesting things happen, we get no confessionals.

4) We get panic. But we get panic then everything is ok. It just seems staged. Ok now I’m out of control. Nope, now I’m good. Nope, now I’m yelling Texas Baby! Nope, now I’m good. There is no inbetween.

5) Things around the main cast is real. The main cast is not.

So bottom line? I have to go with a 5 here. I have a hard time ranking this one. Watching the movie, I’m hating on it. Looking back, there are good things all throughout it. Reflecting, its a better movie than when I’m stopping and ejecting the DVD. The Preachy soliloquy at the end costs it a full point. It’s that bad. Take out the gimmick of the GoPro as well, and I could get an 8 movie here.

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