Survival of the Dead

May 6th, 2010


Survival of the Dead

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Survival of the DeadStill of Kenneth Welsh in Survival of the DeadSurvival of the DeadStill of Alan Van Sprang and Devon Bostick in Survival of the DeadStill of Athena Karkanis in Survival of the DeadStill of Alan Van Sprang in Survival of the Dead

On an island off the coast of North America, local residents simultaneously fight a zombie epidemic while hoping for a cure to return their un-dead relatives back to their human state.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 5.1/10 (9,571 voted)

Critic's Score: 43/100

Director: George A. Romero

Stars: Alan Van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe

In the Plum Island, off the coast of Delaware, the long feud between the families of the patriarchs Captain Patrick O'Flynn (Kenneth Welsh) that intends to eliminate the zombies and Seamus Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) that intends to keep his undead relatives waiting for a cure culminates with O'Flynn expelled from Plum. Meanwhile in the continent Sarge "Nicotine" Crocket (Alan Van Sprang), Chuck (Joris Jarsky), Cisco (Stefano DiMatteo) and Tomboy (Athena Karkanis) are plundering and seeking a safe place to stay. When they rescue the young Boy (Devon Bostick) from group of sadistic hunters, Boy decides to join the group and suggests them to head to Plum Island since he had heard a O'Flynn's broadcast inviting people to move to the island. When Sarge and his team arrive in the island, they are attacked by Muldoon's men and they see that the place is crowded of undead. Sarge's friend Chuck is killed and they decide to fight against Muldoon.

Alan Van Sprang - Sarge Nicotine Crockett
Kenneth Welsh - Patrick O'Flynn
Kathleen Munroe - Janet / Jane O'Flynn
Devon Bostick - Boy
Richard Fitzpatrick - Seamus Muldoon
Athena Karkanis - Tomboy
Stefano DiMatteo - Francisco (as Stefano Di Matteo)
Joris Jarsky - Chuck
Eric Woolfe - Kenny
Julian Richings - James
Wayne Robson - Tawdry
Joshua Peace - D.J. (as Josh Peace)
Hardee T. Lineham - Lieutenant Vaughn
Dru Viergever - Soldier Zombie
Shawn Roberts - Tony (archive footage)

Taglines: Survival isn't just for the living.


Official Website: Official site [Japan] | Official site [United States] |

Release Date: 6 May 2010

Filming Locations: Ancaster, Ontario, Canada

Box Office Details

Budget: $4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $54,605 (USA) (30 May 2010) (20 Screens)

Gross: $101,055 (USA) (11 July 2010)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The cast are all Canadian, and the movie was shot entirely in Canada.

Revealing mistakes: When Francisco is swimming to the ferry you can see the actors scuba mask on the zombie he bites the finger off of.

[first lines]
Sarge 'Nicotine' Crocket: [voice-over] Last time anyone counted, fifty-three million people were dying every year, a hundred-fifty thousand every day, a hundred and seven every minute, and that was in normal times.

User Review

Romero destroys what is left of his reputation

Rating: 1/10

Romero's latest zombie-flick "Survival of the Dead" fails on every level. Its most basic problem is simple : It is just not scary at all.

The characters are either too one-dimensional and boring or too overdrawn/cartoon-like for us to care about them, the setting is not believable (even for horror standards) and giant plot holes punch us from scene to scene, never allowing for any tension to build up.

As stupid as this may sound : This is a zombie movie that feels like it has no zombies in it - because they never come off as a threat. Romero's zombies have always been slow and somewhat passive, so in the past he made them deadly and scary by making them many. In "Survival of the Dead", there are no big zombie masses. No places are overrun, no one is hopelessly trapped and almost everyone is fully armed throughout the movie, reducing conflicts with zombies to automated necessities in-between D-grade drama/soap, and even the characters are just bored of the undead : In one scene, a soldier actually rolled his eyes and sighed in frustration before shooting one.

Since there is no "one big lingering threat", most scenes feel randomly connected and the (obvious-by-genre) climax of the zombies finally getting "out of control" seems artificial and forced. Most of the runtime is spent with mindless, pseudo-philosophical subplots about the morals of shooting zombies (!?) and the conflict between the two groups of the island - "pro-zombie-life" and "pro-killing-zombies" if you will (yes, the script is that retarded). The script is way too dumb to be taken seriously, but unfortunately it is neither intentionally nor unintentionally funny.

"Survival of the Dead" does have a few "strong" (read: bearable) scenes, but every time you think Romero is finally on to something good, he inappropriately switches from horror to unfunny slapstick comedy by bending the laws of physics in laughable ways - since i don't like to spoil anything:

Imagine Uwe Boll and the writers/directors from "Home Alone" getting drunk together, then finding a mediocre zombie-script and deliriously deciding to "improve" it by inserting "funny" ideas they got from failing to follow "Tom & Jerry" on TV. If you can create this image in your mind, then you are very close to understanding the indescribable level of unfunny-ness and failure of some of the "trying to be funny by being over-the-top"-scenes. And no: It's not "so bad it's good", it's "so bad you'll feel embarrassed for everyone involved in this picture".

I still think "Survival of the Dead" is marginally less abysmal than "Diary of the Dead", mainly because it is not filmed with hand-held cameras and one of the main characters looks like a chain-smoking, militarized version of Billy Mays - the only awesome element of the film, as everything Billy Mays-related is ****ing awesome! Don't get me wrong, it's still one of the worst movies i have ever seen and nothing compared to Romero's early stuff - but that's exactly what fascinates me, because it gives me a new perspective on his classics:

In a way, movies allow us to take a look into the minds who created them. See one movie of a specific writer/director, and you will probably get the basic idea of what that artist is about - what he's trying to tell the world, what fascinates him, how complex/simple he thinks etc. With every movie you see, your image of that mind gets sharper, and you might gain insight into previous films, as new material sometimes gives you a new perspective on the creator's ideas and thoughts.

Romero used to shoot scary and clever zombie flicks, he is obviously not capable of doing so anymore and he doesn't even seem to understand why his early movies were great - what does that tell us? Probably that he created awesome movies by accident, not by genius. I've seen his movies several times, and with every viewing, with every failed scene, my image of George A. Romero gets sharper and sharper:

It is the sad, depressing image of a simple-minded craftsman who was once mistakenly labeled a "genius" and an "artist", and who now spends his late days desperately trying to re-justify the credit he once received. He bends the logic behind his zombie universe (zombies getting smart, discussions about pro/contra killing zombies) in laughable attempts to find "stunning" revelations about society, he thereby rapes his previous works and still - despite ripping apart everything that he created - the only thing he does is prove the randomness of his earlier success.

It seems quite clear what happened: Since Romero was hyped a genius, he now thinks he has to center his brainless flicks around "philosophical" themes and "clever" takes on society - a thing he cannot pull off, because, as the mediocre B-movie-director that he actually is, he simply doesn't have any interesting insights.

If you watched Romero's pre-millennium-movies and you still have that image of a clever, creative filmmaker in your head: Please avoid his new trilogy at any cost. It won't entertain you, it won't scare you - it will only shift your image of Romero from "artist" to "lucky B-movie-director", and this might ruin his classics for you.


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