Review: You just can't keep a good zombie down can you? Thanks to horror master George A. Romero this rings true because every few years he keeps on making films about them. 'Dawn of the Dead' was a milestone in his career and a favorite among horror fans, but it wouldn't be the last. The film didn't close with an end to the zombie outbreak or with an answer on how to eliminate them faster than they were spreading. So it only seemed natural that a third film be made, but we'd have to wait seven years for this to come. But since 'Dawn' was and is so beloved, Romero had a lot to live up to with future sequels in this reviewers opinion he more than succeeded.
As we all know, the original script was much longer and the concept much larger in scale. I have yet to read the script myself, which can be found online, but from what I've seen and heard of it it sounds like it would have been something. But due to budget limitations and who knows what else the script had to be cut down and it became the 'Day of the Dead' we know today. But when it was released back in 1985 it didn't receive the warm welcome that the previous films did. In fact a lot of people hated it and wished it never existed. I guess I can understand people feeling that way after seeing the action-packed and less grim 'Dawn' and then watching a sequel that was much darker and a bit slower in pace. But over the next 2+ decades the film gained a huge following, one that I am proud to be a member of.
The first really good thing about the film is the opening dream sequence. I won't say what happens, but it's quite terrifying. The effects seem to evolve with each installment and this one is no exception. Tom Savini, responsible for the previous film's effects, returned to this sequel to do the special, make-up, and gore effects and all three are amazing. There's also plenty of the latter, which I'm sure makes zombie buffs quite happy. Another thing that has been a strong force in these films is the score and the same goes here. John Harrison's score is both powerful and haunting.
Though not all the characters are likable, the actors portraying them give excellent performances. The whole movie has this feeling of dread that hangs over it, which I think we can attribute to both the dark and dirty setting and the lack of respect between the scientists and the soldiers. The cinematography, though not as stunning as in 'Dawn,' is still more than a little impressive. Also like the first two films, this one's writing is up to the brim with smarts. Like the social commentary found in the earlier films is also present here. Not only does Romero excel in his writing, but also does bang up job directing and keeping viewers in suspense.
Now I said before that this film was a bit slower paced than 'Dawn,' but still for a film that doesn't have many action scenes in moves along fine. And if you thought the first two thirds of the film were depressing, wait until you see the finale. I refuse to give anything away, but I will say that your jaw will be on the floor. Any negatives to speak of? I only found one that really bugs and that's the bickering. The scientists and the soldiers do a lot of it and it gets a little old after a while.
I don't care what anybody says, I love this film and unless a better one comes along it's my favorite film in the series. 'Land of the Dead' isn't that film, but it's still an excellent addition to the franchise. But that's another story.