is a remake of the eponymous 1973 movie, directed and with a screenplay by George Romero who executively produced this recent iteration. Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell star as the main couple, supported by actor Joe Anderson.
The film is about the containment of a small town in which its citizens “get sick.” This is not a very original story. It is one that has been used and reused many times. Despite this, the filmmakers recognize the potential problem and use it to their advantage.
Aside from the initial suspension of disbelief that such a disease exists, the rest of the movie is actually quite realistic. The people who are sick to not have any superhuman strength, there are no futuristic weapons and no magical way out. The characters work for what they have and do not get any supernatural assistance.
There is hardly any time given in the movie to explain what is going on. The exposition is very minimal. This works so well because the audience is already familiar with this archetypal story. Everyone has seen or at lest heard about a movie like this. The audience already knows what is going on, so there is no need for the film to waste time telling the audience what it already knows.
So although the story itself is not original, the way it is presented is interesting. One would expect the movie to revolve around a band of people trying to escape to a particular place, or survive until a particular time. However, takes a different approach.
There is not a clear place to escape to throughout the movie. The characters are confused and try different things just because it might help, whatever that may mean at any particular time. The characters reach for solutions as to what to do, which is much more realistic than other similar movies, which have clear goals and obstacles.
None of the actors in the film are very high-profile. They do not have any immediate star power, so they do not bring any baggage with their faces onscreen. This is very effective because when the audience sees them onscreen, they see the characters they are portraying, not the actors and their most recent rehab visits.
The actors come off as people, not stars, which further enhances the small-town, homey feel of the film. eschews readily recognizable faces to maintain the suspension of disbelief, much like the movie, .
There is not much visual style in this film and that is not necessarily a bad thing. In a movie like , the (perhaps excess) style kept the movie away from the audience. It was never really engrossing because it was so unreal. , however, does not hide behind anything at all like overt stylization.
It is normal people doing things that normal people can do. No one has any particularly amazing talents or skills. The characters’ actions onscreen are very believable and real, with very few exceptions.
The movie has plenty of scares, and several intensely nerve-racking scenes. They are all well done and do not rely too much on old, cliché methods. Most of the methods to scare are very similar though, which is to be expected. The infected people seem to be the common source.
The more personal moments in which one character is at risk are punctuated by many scenes of a growing sense of general chaos, each of which is less scary per se, but still evoke quite a visceral reaction.
In addition to the crazies attacking and the general chaos, danger is never very far away and can strike at any time, keeping the audience and the main characters at a constant state of fear.
is not really a zombie movie because there are no dead people moving. But this is about as close as it can get. This movie has only the suspension of disbelief that there exists such a sickness, an easy concession to make.
The characters act like normal people and come off as normal people because they are not too dramatic. offers plenty of scares and good ones at that. This is a fun, escapist movie with more to offer than the average zombie flick.