Well it’s time to say goodbye to the Romero zombies and their remakes. It’s been a fun movie watching week and a half for me and I hate that it has to end on such a down note like today’s movie. After the success of Dawn Of The Dead, I heard that Ving Rhames had signed on to play Captain Rhodes in a remake of Romero’s Day Of The Dead. Well, I thought that would be really interesting to watch and was expecting to see it in theaters but it never showed up. Then I saw it in Blockbuster to rent so I decided to rent it one night and I was completely underwhelmed. So if I didn’t like the movie, why did I buy it? To be honest, I ask myself that same question every time I see today’s movie, Day Of The Dead (2008). sitting on my shelf.
The plot: In the small town of Leadville, Colorado, Trevor Bowman and his girlfriend Nina, along with their friend Kyle and another girl, are using an abandoned building as a make-out place when Trevor and Nina decide to go exploring. Meanwhile, people are being prevented from leaving town by a military quarantine and one man threatens to run over the main in charge, Captain Rhodes, but Corporal Sarah Cross, Trevor’s sister, recognizes the family and manages to convince them to return to town, saying army specialists are heading there to help deal with the problem. After the family leaves, Sarah questions Rhodes on if she lied to the family and Rhodes tells her that her job is to seal off the town. Back at the building, Trevor and Nina decide to head back to his house to fool around and when Trevor says they are leaving and Kyle needs to go if he wants a ride with them, Trevors nose starts bleeding. The girl gets upset with Kyle because he bled on her and offered her money for sex and storms off but ends up getting attacked and killed in the woods. Back at the barricade, three privates, including Salazar and Bud Crane, arrive to join Sarah’s platoon and Sarah has Bud join her as she heads into town while leaving Salazar and the other private to secure the barricade. Heading to her house, Sarah finds Trevor and Nina partially undressed and yells at Noah for not checking on their mother or returning her calls. She heads upstairs to check on her mom, Francine, and decides to take her to the hospital but when she hears about Kyle, she tells Trevor and Nina to stay there and get their mom ready to go while she checks on Kyle. Reaching Kyle’s house, they find the bodies of Kyle’s parents badly mutilated and calls it in to Rhodes, who says he will meet her at the hospital as he is heading there to find some missing doctors. At the hospital, they find the place full of people showing the same symptoms as Francine and while Trevor and Nina leave to check on her family, Rhodes tells Sarah to follow him as a doctor from the CDC wants to talk to her. Bud stays behind to look after Francine when she suddenly goes catatonic, as do the other sick people in the hospital and he goes to get Sarah. Sarah is introduced to Dr. Logan, who begins asking her questions about what the victims looked like. Meanwhile, Trevor and Nina are talking to Nina’s dad when he also suddenly goes catatonic and then changes into a zombie and attacks Nina’s mom and begins eating her. Trevor and Nina leave the room only to see more zombies attacking people and when the zombies start chasing after them, they manage to escape the hospital. When zombies attack a worker at the power station and cause a blackout, Paul, the radio DJ, decides to leave the station but when the soldier that was there with him is killed and a zombie starts charging towards him, he quickly gets back into the station and locks the door. At the hospital, all of the patients in the waiting room that were catatonic have become zombies and are attacking everyone. Rhodes tries to get Sarah and the others to safety and ends up being overwhelmed and killed. As Sarah finds a store room to hide in, Logan shoves Bud out of the way, causing Bud to drop the keys to their Humvee. Seeing Rhodes’ Humvee is still in the parking lot, Sarah decides to go looking for Rhodes since he would have the keys and has Logan making moltov cocktails from the chemicals in the store room while she and Bud use the air ducts to get to Rhodes. Meanwhile, Trevor and Nina make their way through the woods and see that the town is in chaos. Noticing someone at the radio station, they head inside and find Paul, as well as the Leitner family, hiding there but they are nervous when both Mrs. Leitner and Paul start coughing. Back at the hospital, Sarah and Bud find Rhodes’ body and also find Salazar, who had hid in that room when everything started happening. Grabbing the keys and Rhodes’ gun, they head back up the air vents but Rhodes reanimates and chases after them, biting Bud as he puts the grate back in place. Sarah quickly pours bleach on the wound and when Salazar threatens to shoot him, she stops him and says she will take responsibility for him. Breaking a window and heading outside, they start fighting their way through the zombies towards the Humvee but Logan gets in an abandoned jeep, pushing a girl into the path of the zombies in the process, and drives off without them. Heading into town, Sarah stops at a gun shop so they can get some more weapons and uses zip ties to restrain Bud in the car while they go inside. After grabbing the guns, they head back to the Humvee and find Bud has transformed but Sarah stops Salazar from shooting him. Meanwhile, Nina and Trevor notice some bloody tissues in the trash can and question the others on if they have a bloody nose. When Paul transforms and attacks them, Nina is forced to kill him and Trevor gets on the radio and calls for help, which Sarah hears and starts heading for the radio station. At the station, Trevor sees his mom on the street and goes to let him in, with Nina following him and as they leave, Mrs. Leitner asks her husband why he lied about her nose bleed. Heading downstairs, Trevor opens the door and goes outside but stops when he sees his mom is a zombie and rushing towards him. Before she reaches him, Sarah runs her over with the Humvee and as she tries to comfort Trevor, she tells Nina to get the others. Nina heads upstairs only to find Mr. Leitner dead and a zombie Mrs. Leitner trying to attack her. Trevor helps fend her off and knock her out the window, where Salazar kills her and then they all get in the Humvee and leave. In the car, Salazar wonders why Bud isn’t trying to attack them and Sarah says he is a vegetarian and that they zombies must retain some memories of who they are, which Salazar comments about how Bud remembers his crush on Sarah. They reach the blockade only to find that the soldiers have been infected and trying to figure out another way out of the city, Trevor suggests the fire road into Boulder. Making there way down the road, they see a zombie Kyle charging towards them and he smashes through the windshield, causing Sarah to crash. Sarah kills Kyle and then they grab the guns and head to the abandoned building Trevor and Nina were in earlier, bringing Bud with them. Inside, the hear a strange scream which causes Bud to start yelling out, attracting nearby zombies to where they are hiding. Bud tries stalling the zombies to allow Sarah and the others to escape and they end up in a secret bunker. Exploring inside, Sarah and Salazar find Logan hiding there and learn that he was part of a project to develop a virus that would shut down the bodies neural system but it mutated. They encounter a zombiefied version of the lead scientist, Dr. Engel, and Logan says that if they retain their memories then they are in trouble. Logan says there is no way out but Salazar says that this building was actually a disguised cold war missile silo and they should be able to get out through the silo. As they look for the silo, Engel grabs Logan and drags him up into the ceiling pipes and kills him, then drops his dead body in front of the others. Reaching a junction, they are forced to split up and Sarah and Salazar find the silo but as they check to see if it’s safe, they encounter a horde of zombies and Salazar is killed while Sarah manages to escape. Trevor grabs Sarah and brings her into a room, where they find missile propulsion tanks and Sarah has an idea to use them as a weapon to kill all the zombies. Placing them towards the door, Sarah goes out to lure the zombies into the trap but ends up being grabbed by Engel. Bud, who is with the zombie horde, sees this and starts shooting at Engel, causing Engel to lead the other zombies into tearing Bud apart. Sarah shoots a zombie which angers Engel and he starts leading the zombies after her but Sarah reaches the room and Nina knocks the valves off of the tanks and Trevor ignites the gas, causing jets of flame to course through the building and kill all the zombies. Heading outside, they get into Logan’s jeep and drive off, listening to a news report saying that the virus has been contained, just as a zombie appears behind them.
Day Of The Dead (2008) met with negative reviews from the critics, holding a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all seemed to feel this was just an incompetent mess of a movie. The screenplay was loosely adapted from Romero’s original movie but has no connection with the Dawn Of The Dead remake. There was some confusion regarding Mena Suvari’s character as she is listed as Sarah Bowman in the credits but called Sarah Cross during the movie. The movie got a limited release, only earning $301,771 at the box office, which didn’t come close to making back it’s $18 million budget and was released to DVD to try and make back the cost.
This is a bad movie on so many levels. The acting was ok at best, with Mena Suvari (Sarah) and Nick Cannon (Salazar) doing ok but Michael Welch (Trevor) and AnnaLynne McCord were just annoying. I was disappointed with Ving Rhames (Rhodes) performance but I did think that Stark Sands made an excellent Bud. The story was bad and really had nothing in common with the original movie except that there were military and scientists, a Captain named Rhodes, and a zombie soldier named Bud that shot a gun. Having the zombies able to jump and climb up walls honestly made it seem like they wanted to make a vampire movie and changed it to zombies at the last minute. The effects were decent, but there were several times where the fake CGI blood was added to a scene that just made the scene look stupid. A barely passable zombie movie and a lousy way to pay homage to the original.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5