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Review: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
by steelcorpfilms (steelcorpfilms)
at October 13th, 2007 (05:58 am)

current mood: sick
current song: Kane Hodder "Attack on Tir Asleen"

Night of the Living Dead
- 1968

Reviewer: Indy McDaniel
Rating: 9
Director: George A. Romero
Writer: John A. Russo
George A. Romero
Cast: Duane Jones
Judith O'Dea
Karl Hardman
Marilyn Eastman
Keith Wayne
Run Time: 96 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Date Reviewed: October 13th, 2007

Plot: A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

Comments: The first in Romero's Dead series and the first time zombies were portrayed as flesh-eating fiends, too. The switch from traditional voodoo-style zombies into the flesh-eating ghoul variety is really a stroke of genius, which is all the more obvious judging by the sheer number of zombie movies that've been made since this flick came out. To say Night of the Living Dead is a classic is almost an understatement. It really is the godfather of modern day zombies. Without Romero and Russo's unique perspective on the genre, who knows what kind of zombie movies there'd be today.

Although it was created on a shoe-string budget, the movie really doesn't look it. Part of it is due to Romero's brilliant camera work, which is mostly, if not entirely, handheld. The angles are dramatic and the jittery, never-too-stable movements add an intensity to the whole movie. The lighting mixed with the black and white film (used for budgetary reasons) actually help create an even better mood. The eerie score helps even more and blended all together it makes for a very atmospheric and creepy movie. The zombies look pretty good, too, for as much detail as you can see of them and there's even some pretty graphic zombie munching scenes.

Unlike what you'd expect from a small budget movie, Night actually manages to score a whole slew of pretty damn talented actors. If the technical aspects help to craft the atmosphere of the movie, then the actors definitely help to sell the situation being depicted. Duane Jones and Karl Hardman's conflict is really the focal point of a lot of things and it's nicely portrayed. An interesting character twist is Barbara, who's originally portrayed as the main character in the movie, but pretty quickly gets regulated down to near-comatose trauma victim. While interesting, she still pretty much becomes dead weight for most of the movie. Her interraction with her brother Johnny at the start of the film, though, is great, though.

A lot of classic movies have quotable lines that surface somewhat regularly in pop culture references. A movie might have one or two of these. Night of the Living Dead has a whole handful of great lines that have moved so far beyond the actual movie that people who haven't even seen it will most likely be able to quote it. If that's not a sure sign of a movie really embedding itself in the subconsiousness of society, I don't know what is. Not to mention, it contains, what I think, is one of the most creepy, disturbing and terrifying zombie scenes ever filmed, all involving a little girl and a gardening instrument. Things go from bad to worse for all the characters as the night goes on and even as dawn arrives, things don't get any brighter. It's the perfect anti-Hollywood ending and it just makes the movie that much better.

Overall: Not to throw down a gauntlet or anything, but seriously, if you haven't seen this movie, I don't know if you can really consider yourself a true horror fan. Alright, maybe that's going a bit too far. But you definitely can't call yourself a true zombie horror fan.