Survival of the Dead is about a group of survivalists on an island who are simultaneously fighting the zombie epidemic from previous Living Dead films, while trying to cure their once friends and family. Not wanting to kill them, they are trying to force their undead family members to go back to everyday life. The conflict comes in with two major families. One family realizes that the undead can’t be cured and that they should just be put down, while the other family thinks that killing them is wrong and they are trying to preserve their human instincts. Kicking the killers off of the island, the family that is holding onto an impossible dream, turns the zombies into “slaves,” although they call it rehabilitation. Attempting to force the zombies to live the way they used to live, the family chains the zombies to a place they belonged to in their human life such as: The mailman chained to the mailbox to put the mail in, the farmer “plowing the grass”, and the main bad guy’s wife chained to the kitchen to remind her about her duties in the kitchen (seems appropriate for a villain to do). Of course, none of these zombie are actually doing anything. They just stand there mindless. The only redemption is a undead woman riding a horse.
The film does get a little ridiculous with the blood and gore, but the story-line is fairly interesting. Director George A. Romero always likes to place social commentary into his films, and Survival of the Dead is no exception. With indifference to violence, the view of woman in society, as well as the war in Iraq. This is one of Romero’s more story driven films, so if you are not a fan of his work or zombies in general, then you will probably find this film a bit boring.
An interesting anecdote about how this film ties into the rest of the series, is that the group of soldiers that you follow through the story, are the same soldiers from a scene in Diary of the Dead where they ransacked the van that Diary’s main characters were driving. It’s always fun to see a segue such as this, allowing Living Dead fans to link events around the world through connecting characters.
The film does come across as a little slow and the ridiculous acting doesn’t help. I found myself laughing more than anything. Some of the absurd deaths reminded me of Final Destination. I wouldn’t waste your time seeing this in theaters. At best it’s a rental.