Winner of the DIARY OF THE DEAD short film competition, THE FINAL DAY (I'd tell you who directed it, so I could offer congratulations, but there either weren't any on the film, or the version I saw hacked them off) is well deserving of the honor. I say this even though my personal favorite, DEMONSTRATION OF THE DEAD, didn't make the final cut (go ahead and blame Keene, Mike, everyone else does!). Unlike most of the entries who merely parroted Romero's films without really understanding what made them click, THE FINAL DAY embodies the spirit and feel of the DEAD trilogy, avoiding an out-and-out rip-off of Romero.
Boasting clean, fluid photography and frenetic yet restrained editing, THE FINAL DAY is pretty light on story, condensing a great deal of standard zombie-film action into a brief series of cuts before ending on a budget-conscious but still effective apocalyptic ending (which, ironically, echoes RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD than anything directly made by Romero). I wish the main actor in the piece was credited so I can refer to him by name, but I thought he did a great job of emoting the mounting horror of a zombie outbreak without dissolving into either schtick or unintentional parody, as most of the other "actors" in the contest succumb to.
Can't include this one directly on the blog, but you can see this film and the runners-up (which will be reviewed in turn) at www. myspace.com/diaryofthedead.