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Non-Review Review: Grabbers

Grabbers is a fascinating little premise, executed in a delightfully quirky and off-kilter manner. Very much an affectionate homage to classic creature features (you can spot Night of the Living Dead playing in the background of one early scene), director Jon Wright and writer Kevin Lehane are sure to give the story a delightfully stereotypical Irish twist. While the Americans might defeat a potentially hostile alien invasion with moral certitude and superior firepower, or the the British might best those otherworldly monsters with a stoic stiff upper lip, the inhabitants of the even stereotypically named “Erin Island” take on their visitors using the sheer unmitigated power of the pub lock-in.

It’s a premise that could easily collapse under its own weight, or become one joke extended well past the point of hilarity, but it’s to the credit of Wright, Lehane and the cast that it flies through its hour-and-a-half runtime.

Catching them off-guard…

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Non-Review Review: Return of the Living Dead

Return of the Living Dead is a fairly strange beast. Something of a black comedy spin-off from George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the film is a ridiculously campy exploration of trashy low-rent horror… and yet somehow has been picked up and embraced by popular culture. After all, this is the movie that introduced the idea that zombies weren’t just satiated by consuming large quantities of meat (most often from humans) – this was the film which introduced the idea of zombies stumbling forward, repeatedly droning “braaaaains!” It’s a concept which has been so throughly incorporated into pop culture’s definition of zombie (although it’s rarely the case, we still expect it and recognise it), so it seems strange that it came from a spoof.

No bones about it...

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Non-Review Review: The Crazies (2010)

The Crazies is a fairly decent little horror movie, as far as modern horror goes. It’s relatively restrained, smartly acted and generally well-directed, with the kind of horror which reflects back on modern society. It’s not perfect and it’s certainly not excellent, but it’s another above-par remake of a George A. Romero cult classic.

Timothy Olyphant lights up the screen...

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The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye (Pilot)

And so it has arrived. The Walking Dead, as written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic books (or “series of graphic novels”) written by Robert Kirkman. Logically, a zombie television show was long overdue – the creatures have been the staple of our pop culture landscape in some form or another for nearly fifty years now, and have seen a huge increase in popularity in recent times. So, with an incredibly strong pedigree behind it, this tale of zombie survival made it to the small screen.

The road less travelled...

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Non-Review Review: Land of the Dead

Welcome to the m0vie blog’s zombie week! It’s a week of zombie-related movie discussions and reviews as we come up to Halloween, to celebrate the launch of Frank Darbont’s The Walking Dead on AMC on Halloween night. So be sure to check back all week, as we’ll be running posts on the living dead.

Zombies, man. They creep me out.

– Kaufman

Land of the Dead is something of a delayed epilogue to Romero’s “dead” trilogy. The first three films were produced roughly once every decade, with The Night of the Living Dead appearing in the sixties, Dawn of the Dead in the seventies and Day of the Dead in the eighties. There was no zombie movie from Romero during the nineties (save a remake of his original film – and even then Romero didn’t direct it – his frequent collaborator Tom Savini was behind the camera. Land of the Dead is a somewhat more controversial film than the first three films Romero produced, perhaps because it’s the first time that it feels like Romero gives his zombies more development than the human survivors. It also plays with the audience’s expectations a bit more than the first three films – and, whiel I’m not convinced that this sort of toying around with the formula works, you have to give the director credit. It isn’t as strong as the earlier films, but it still feels like a director who has something to say about the state of modern society. And that is about good enough for me.

Hopper-ed up...

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Non-Review Review: Day of the Dead (1985)

Welcome to the m0vie blog’s zombie week! It’s a week of zombie-related movie discussions and reviews as we come up to Halloween, to celebrate the launch of Frank Darbont’s The Walking Dead on AMC on Halloween night. So be sure to check back all week, as we’ll be running posts on the living dead.

Day of the Dead is the third in Romero’s classic “dead” trilogy and perhaps the last film he produced that has been universally accepted. While he has, to date, produced three more zombie films (and there are those – including myself – who appreciate some of those to a greater or lesser degree), Day of the Dead is considered something of a closing note on Romero’s epic zombie apocalypse saga – perhaps the other three acting as appendices (with Land of the Dead an epilogue and Diary of the Dead a “reimagining”). Either way, it’s a strong little film which holds together relative well. It will never be iconic as the two earlier films produced – The Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead – but it still feels like a fitting companion piece.

He's got him undead to rights...

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Non-Review Review: Shaun of the Dead

Welcome to the m0vie blog’s zombie week! It’s a week of zombie-related movie discussions and reviews as we come up to Halloween, to celebrate the launch of Frank Darbont’s The Walking Dead on AMC on Halloween night. So be sure to check back all week, as we’ll be running posts on the living dead.

Ah, facing down a herd of zombies with nothing but a Cricket Bat. Is there a more British response possible to the fall of civilisation?

And that's my cue...

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