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Friday, October 17, 2014

My Review Of “A Night Of The Living Dead”

anotldShattered Images Films home-grown horror remake of the classic “Night Of The Living Dead” retells the zombie story with a few alterations to Romero’s original tale. “A Night Of The Living Dead” is an ultra low-budget film shot in black and white and stays pretty close to the original story without being an exact reproduction. The film is directed by Chad Zuver and stars Rebekka Daniel, Melissa Zahs, Lisa Marie, Lee Godwin, Sarah Bertz Thomas, Kayla Elizabeth, Gad Holland, Layla M. Thomas, and J.J. Lahey. The plot takes place during a visit to see their wife and mother's grave, placing Jerry and his daughters Melanie and Barbra at the beginning of a zombie apocalypse.

“A Night Of The Living Dead” keeps pretty close to the original story, but like I stated before there are some alterations and new experiences in this retelling. The story arc manages to hold together pretty well from start to finish, unfortunately there are times when it gets weak due to dialog and inconsistent story elements that fail to build the suspense or keep the film moving forward. Mostly this is due to some of the cast’s inability to stay on point with their lines and clumsy dialog.This is home grown horror so a lot of the errors are expected , but not always forgivable, “A Night Of The Living Dead” does have some pretty effective moments as far as creating chilling scenes and an overall chilling atmosphere. Not to mention several of the cast give good performances.

The special effects are ultra-cheap in “A Night Of The Living Dead” and due to camera angles and time spent focusing on the effect, are ineffective and do more to harm the scene. Not all the scenes that use special effects are a fail, some are very effective and create genuinely creepy moments. Thankfully I didn’t see any CGI effects, so the use of practical effects are greatly appreciated.

A plus for the film is that the zombies being shot in black and white are acceptable in design and effect. They stay pretty basic much like the original and several other films that it spawned that keep the zombies simple. The soundtrack and sound effects are work in “A Night OF The Living Dead” by staying pretty simple and used with precision. The music creates a since of emotion that elevates several scenes to higher-quality moments. Kudos.

Overall, “A Night Of The Living Dead” misses at creating an original retelling of the film because too much of the Romero film is present when it comes to scene set-ups and structure. The acting is pretty low quality with the exception being the few actors that do offer quality performances. This is a no budget horror film and at times really shines, unfortunately the amount of line flubs from some characters and inconsistent use of practical effects drag the director’s  intended vision down.

The good things about “A Night Of The Living Dead” are the fact that it is shot in black and white, plus it does alter some of the original film so that at times it does feel genuine and more like fan fiction than copycat. The zombies are acceptable – thanks to the black and white filming choice, and I enjoyed the added characters and location used in this film, with the exception of too much down time inside the home that the real owners obviously refused to sign off on scene damage like busting windows or actually boarding up windows.

All that said, fans of homemade, home grown horror and ultra low-budget will like the fact that “A Night Of The Living Dead” offers a better quality story than most home-grown zombie films out there. And for this particular production company this film rises above some of the companies previous works. The added characters, and black and white keeps “A Night Of The Living Dead” from completely failing, and at times creates some pretty effective moments.

Fans of indie horror that are used to films with larger budgets may not enjoy this one because of the lower quality of effects and dialog issues. It does offer an original ending to the story that is intense so I enjoyed that aspect of the film. Just be prepared and know that this is an ultra low-budget horror when you set down to watch it. I am 50/50 on this one because I enjoy the home-grown/ultra low-budget side of indie horror, I just prefer a bit more originality than what this "Night Of The Living Dead" offers, you know-something that I haven't seen before. 
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