Is Humanity Worth Saving?


Romero’s newest zombie flick follows suit in begging the viewer to contemplate some serious social questions while watching the type of decapitated zombie gore that only he can deliver.

I could review the plot, the effects, and/or any typical aspect a reviewer usually reviews… but why? You already know that Diary of the Dead was filmed in the same vein as Blair Witch and Cloverfield. You already know that Romero’s zombies are relatively slow moving and the effects in the past few years have been great in this genre. You already know Romero’s plots are mostly action driven, but woven with Dickens-eque exploration of social ills. So, I decided to talk more about what you don’t know about this film and what I, personally, took from it.

There were three main points I took from the film. The first two center around a phrase repeated throughout the movie, “This is too easy to use.” It is notably said about both a gun and a video camera. The first is a relatively self-explanatory advisory… as guns have become altogether too commonplace; it shouldn’t be easy to just pull the trigger when faced with life’s problems. But, the second is a more interesting theme to explore. The camera being “too easy to use” is just a small piece of a major theme in the movie, centering around the idea that atrocities life is much easier to digest when seen through a screen or a viewfinder.

Think about it, how desensitized do we become to murders, arsons, shootings, beatings, etc. when we watch them on TV? It is awfully easy to shrug it off after a few words or sympathy when we see the latest violent incident happening in our local city. We hide behind our sets, just living vicariously through movies, shows, and the news. None of it is real… but then again, it is. We are programmed to just let it all roll off and leave us unaffected. Whether behind the camera or watching the screen, life becomes easier to take when it’s entertainment rather than just life.

This segways nicely into the third of the three themes that struck me, the question in the title of this blog… “Is humanity worth saving?” (SPOILER ALERT) The final scene includes footage of two rednecks playing target practice with zombie carcasses. The ways in which they destroy and torture the bodies is more then questionable… it is completely inhuman. Defending oneself is one thing, using dead bodies for target practice and laughing about it is quite another. And what hits home about this scene is that we all know people who would have no qualms joining in this horrible activity. What’s more, I can identify people who have made comments about how they’d love to use convicts (people who are still alive, mind you) for their target practice. It wouldn’t be upsetting if I didn’t believe that they’d do it.

The third of these themes is what gets to me the most. There are many good people, but the evil in man always finds a way to rears its ugly face. Hope springs eternal, but not when it comes to Romero.

~ by thepaintedman on May 27, 2008.

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