Land of the Dead (2005) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Land of the Dead (2005) Review

Horrorific content by Ciarán Coleman on July 15th, 2021 | Movie Review | Survival, Zombie, Urban Decay, Apocalypse

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It’s about a group of survivors dealing with a zombie attack on post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

George A. Romero’s 2005 film ‘Land of the Dead’ stars Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Asia Argento and Dennis Hopper and features some of Romero’s classic commentary on class between some half decent zombie shlock.

The dead shall inherit the Earth.

Land of the Dead Review

This film works best when it’s critiquing human consumerism amidst its grim and brutal post-apocalyptic world. Romero’s been doing this since he made ‘Night of the Living Dead’ in 1968 and he’s undeniably great at it. The horror elements of this film are definitely weaker than the first three instalments in the ‘of the dead’ franchise but they’re not outright bad with some wince-inducing gore littered throughout.

There doesn’t seem to be all that clear or concise a plot in ‘Land of the Dead’ - more like a string of events happening to the main characters that drags them kicking and screaming to a disappointing ending.

The zombie characterisation and design is one of the films main highlights. Brilliant make-up that holds up all these years later only adds to the intimidating quality surrounding them. The zombies represent everyday humans struggling against elitist capitalist’s, like Kaufman, the main antagonist of the film, played rather woodenly by Dennis Hopper. The problem with this villain comes from the lack of personality established. He’s evil and that’s about it.

Simon Baker plays Riley, the film’s lead, alongside John Leguizamo’s Cholo. The interaction between these two throughout make for some of the more entertaining moments in ‘Land of the Dead’, despite some of the weaker writing plaguing the script. Baker isn’t given much to work with and his usual talent is lost in generic set pieces.

Unfortunately, ‘Land of the Dead’ can’t escape a sense of monotony and genericism. A year after the incredibly energetic and tongue-in-cheek ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and a few years after Danny Boyle’s brilliant ‘28 Days Later’, this film is often boring, rarely frightening and just entertaining enough not to turn it off. The short 1hr 37 min runtime however, was an excellent choice and saved the overall film from being unsalvageable.

Worth Watching?

Unless you’re a die-hard fan of zombie films or George A. Romero, I’d give this flick a miss. There’s a few cool moments but all in all, the story turns out to be, at the best of times, just a bit boring.

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