Movie Name: Diary of the Dead
Studio: Artfire Films
Release Date(s): September 8, 2007 (Toronto)/February 15, 2008 (U.S.)
MPAA Rating: R
The Dead are walking the Earth and a group of college students shooting a horror film find themselves stuck in the middle of the horror. When Jason (Joshua Close) refuses to stop shooting because of the historical significance of the events going on, he records the horror that he and his friends experience. As and his friends try to find their families and other survivors, they face zombies and threats from humans.
Directed by George Romano, Diary of the Dead is shot as a found-footage film and was met with mixed reviews. Despite following Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead actually occurs during the period of Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Critics did like the modernization and social media to get the message about the zombie invasion out.
Diary of the Dead is a prequel that has been modernized to fit with current times. Night of the Living Dead was set in 1968, but Diary of the Dead (which is supposed to be the start of the outbreak) is set in 2007. One fun aspect of all the media in the film is that Quentin Tarantino, Simon Pegg, Stephen King, Wes Craven, and Guillermo del Toro all provide voice-overs for broadcasts.
I am kind of sad that the storyline set-up in Land of the Dead wasn’t followed. A movie with intelligent zombies could have been interesting. A relaunch and retro-fit to the story might be kind of necessary at this point, but it also is being done with the new Dawn of the Dead so it feels a bit unnecessary since you could almost consider it a part of this line.
Diary of the Dead follows the “found footage” style popularized by films like The Blair Witch Project. The movie unfortunately suffers from the found footage curse of trapped in the format with so-so actors in their attempt to find more natural actors…add the weak acting with really bad voice-over monologues, and you’re in trouble. The idea that the internet becomes a source of news after the apocalypse is great, but I also kind of wonder if servers would still function.
Diary of the Dead does change the style of the Dead films. It is interesting that Diary of the Dead is the first “Dead” film to have a true sequel. The survivors encounter a group of soldiers who rob them. Their story is told in the follow-up film Survival of the Dead which was released in 2009.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Day of the Dead (1985)
Land of the Dead (2005)
Survival of the Dead (2009)