This remake of the George Romero classic from 1973 stars Timothy Olyphant as the town sheriff in the midst of a violent viral outbreak among it’s residents. The origin of this outbreak lies with the crash of a military plane in the nearby lake which leads into the town’s drinking supply. The residents slowly become infected and go into murderous sprees of violence, indiscriminately killing each other and ending up either dead or hopelessly insane.
The military sends in troops to quarantine the town and round up the people infected so far, executing them or experimenting on them. The sheriff along with his wife and deputy are among the survivors who escape the military and work to uncover the truth and free themselves from the soldiers trying to hunt them down.
Now, while not really original, this is a proven horror formula that has worked in the past. It works here too. But there’s something about this movie that just kind of falls flat somehow. A friend of mine asked me to watch this and tell him what I thought because he was kind of feeling the same way about it, that it just lacked something.
Overall, the writing is decent, the lines don’t seem overly manufactured and it’s not real “one-lineish” like you would hear in a lot of movies in this genre.
The acting is pretty good too. Timothy Olyphant is a strong lead as is Radha Mitchell who plays his wife and Joe Anderson who serves as the sheriff’s deputy.
The directing is good, average to what’s expected with this kind of film…
Maybe that’s it. It was average for a remake. Some remakes really stand out, like Dawn of the Dead. Some are just plain terrible (Psycho? You REALLY wanted to tackle Hitchcock? Are you nuts?! That’s like trying to remake a Led Zeppelin song, some things you just don’t touch.).
To tackle a Romero film, you really need to know how to take it to the next level. This film didn’t do that. The scene with the baseball field could’ve been way more intense and interesting, but they played it safe instead of scary. I would’ve definitely taken that scene up a notch.
This is worth a watch, but I would recommend checking out the original first.
reviewed by Sean McKnight