Monday, August 18, 2008


Why in the name of all that is holy was this allowed to happen? I mean, was anybody really asking for this?

Once again the undisputed classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is thrown over a barrel and sodomized for the sole purpose of scraping up a few easy bucks from a built-in audience--sheesh, Ned Beatty didn't have it this bad in DELIVERANCE. While I don't think anything could top John Russo's desecration for the 30th Anniversary "Special Edition," this ill-conceived and thoroughly unwanted 2006 remake comes mighty damn close. (I could also say that NIGHT was remade once already, and didn't exactly require another go-round, but this deep into the blog I've learned that Romero's film has essentially been remade dozens of times.)

Director--and oh, how I use that term loosely--Jeff Broadstreet made one of those movies that's so bad, so incompetent, and so insulting (on both a conceptual level and in execution) that it invokes a profound, indignant anger; I honestly can't remember a movie made me this flat-out furious. The hubris to remake a classic of NIGHT's stature is bad enough, but to do it without an iota of filmmaking savvy (Broadstreet is to cinema what Josef Mengele is to modern medicine) is unacceptable.

The good news, if there can be any gleaned from a colossal fuck-up like this, is that this version is largely an in-name-only remake. Aside from a hideously inept cemetery opening, this NIGHT cuts its own swath, though the asinine story's no different than a hundred other zombie flicks, and no better. Broadstreet seems to think that "updating" a movie means tossing in gratuitous references to MapQuest and cell phones, and his modernized version of "They're coming to get you, Barbara" would've brought bile to the back of my throat if wasn't so spectacularly stupid and faux-clever.

At least Broadstreet had the good sense to surround himself with actors of the same caliber. Sid Haig, who seems to phone it in for any director not named Rob Zombie, plays one of the characters invented for this version (I wonder if he'd have still half-assed this part if he'd known it was written expressly for him) and, quite frankly, isn't fit to shine Duane Jones's shoes. And as for Brianna Brown, our upgraded Barbara, I have two words of career advice for her that will mesh nicely with her range of talent: Porn. Ography.

(If you've noticed why I haven't yet mentioned this version being in 3D, it's because I watched the flat edition also available, though I really didn't see anything that could've benefited from the third dimension aside from a marketing gimmick. Don't worry, though, it'll still make you dizzy.)

This latest NIGHT couldn't even achieve the escapist fun of Tom Savini's 1990 remake, let alone attempt a stab at the original's social or political commentary. No, everybody runs around until the zombies get them. That's pretty much the whole story right there. And if you haven't watched it yet, you're welcome.

If I do compile a Worst Of list at the end of this project, as I've been seriously contemplating, this NIGHT is a sure bet for the Top Five. I'd tell you to avoid it, but what I really want you to do is find a copy, stomp it beneath your foot, piss on the remains, and bury it by the side of the road. Trust me, it's a more productive activity than actually watching the goddamn thing.

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