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Teen Critics on Diary of the Dead

“ George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead (The Weinstein Company)”


Wow... this is perhaps the only word that came to my mind by the film's end. "Diary of the Dead" was a peculiar mix of zombie bashing, and flesh chomping humor that I couldn’t rank as a horror film. Shot in the first person shaky “Cloverfield“


style, the movie was intended to be a mock-documentary called “The Death of Death.”

Just as in a majority of zombie movies, something goes wrong and out pop the zombies. A small group of college friends then embark upon a quest to try to find their families and a safe place to escape the zombie fiends. In the tradition of most films of this caliber, however, one by one the friends begin to succumb in one way or another to the zombie horde.

Perhaps one of the greatest scenes of any film this year is when the heroes come across Samuel, a deaf Amish man with a fistful of zombie-be-gone and the attitude of one of Leonidas' “300.“

Samuel's memorable yet relatively short role swayed the film into what may be called a sequel to “Shaun of the Dead.“

Post-Samuel, the group continues on their journey, with the cameraman hell bent on trying to get as much footage of these zombies as possible to post onto Myspace. More struggles and zombies occur, and finally the group finds themselves -- at a whopping membership of three -- retreating into a "panic room" to watch about a dozen cameras show the grim news that zombies are swarming their safe zone. In a final moment of epic proportions, the end leaves the viewer to decide what they wish to believe happened.


All in all, I won't say that this was a bad movie or a waste of time, but I wouldn’t say that it’s some type of godsend that the masses must view. If I were to go see a movie, this probably wouldn’t be my first, second, or third choice. But if I were to see it on TV or rent it I would definitely watch it for the comedic value of the whole film. My expectations for the future of this film are headlining the Sci-Fi channel and perhaps USA. All in all, unless you have some extra cash, a free pass, are a diehard Romero fan, or just want to see a funny zombie movie, I would say wait until it hits TV or DVD to watch it.

-- Eric Wilson is a high school senior attending Mount Miguel. He's a big fan of fantasy and adventure, and spends a lot of his free time playing World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons, or console games. He also enjoys spending time at Balboa Park, wandering the nature trails or messing around at the archery range. Although he has wanted to be an architect or engineer, he would love to be able to get paid to review movies and he hopes this experience might help him get his foot in the door.

The student film crew of Diary of the Dead (The Weinstein Company)


Due to my desire for a light beginning, I will first say that I am amazed by George Romero’s ability to take the same plot and formula characters from his numerous other zombie movies, and make them into another movie -- and still make it interesting.

Now, for the less stupendous attributes of this movie, I will begin with it’s attempt at a “Blair Witch”-ian point of view. In my experience, the only movie that has ever pulled off the shaky camera motif is “The Blair Witch Project” itself. Whether it's because of its cheap home movie feel or its good timing or maybe even its above average cast, “The Blair Witch’s” technique should stay with its mother.

Now I shall move on to “Diary of the Dead's” political punches. Like every movie out today, “Diary of The Dead” feels a need to take a few pokes at today's political climate, hoping that the movie will connect with the audience on a level other than, “Hey look at the guy's skull melt, isn’t that cool?” Maybe this would have succeeded if Romero had stuck to one topic instead of jumping from the lying media to the nonchalance of the military and finally to the big question: "Is the human race even worth saving?" To make that last point seems to wipe out the necessity of the previous two points. It’s better to make a point and back it up, rather than spouting a lot of random anti-government statements, hoping to take a bite politics like some anarchist zombie (yes that pun was completely intended).

If you have not already stormed away from your computer screen during my last two paragraphs then let me end on a good note. I haven’t had this much fun in a movie theatre in a long time. This movie is fun, comparable to a mediocre rollercoaster ride you go on with your friends to scream and laugh. Those rollercoasters, in my opinion, are the best. So aside from this movie trying on an intellectual costume that was ten sizes too small, it did offer a good time that only a bad cast, and lines like "I don't think he wants our license and registration," and that's why you don't mess with Texas" can offer. So if you want a good movie to watch with your friends, buy a ticket to “Diary of the Dead.” But if you're looking for an intellectual people-eater movie, I would stick with Danny Boyle's “28 Days Later,” even though they are not really zombies.

-- Candace Kavanagh spends her life absorbing celluloid images. She loves every type of film from so-called "chick flicks" such as “My Fair Lady” and “Legally Blonde,” to mind bending thrillers like “Mulholland Drive” and “Hard Candy” -- with every zombie movie, action flick, musical, and comedy in between.

Zombie-to-be in Diary of the Dead (The Weinstein Comapny)


With witty camera effects and many gory scenes, “Diary of the Dead” captivates the viewer’s interest in a-film-within-a-film. The movie is filmed as a documentary being exposed after a zombie epidemic. Being a George A. Romero film, the movie is very original, yet also very typical of the zombie genre. I thought that the storyline, of people running from zombies was something that you've seen in every zombie movie, but I think it was original in the way Romero filmed it with all the different camera effects like the cell phone camera view, the surveillance cameras and the student's camera. The shooting style and camera effects are good, yet at some points they can make viewers dizzy because of the out of focus and quick camera movements.

The film shows a group of young adults trying to survive as they cross cities trying to get home. Many deaths and encounters with zombies happen throughout their journey. Many parts and ideas of the film are predictable and expected, which makes the film a little less interesting to watch. I personally think that the actors could have acted a little bit more scared. I believe they seemed too casual with what was happening around them. Although it was a low budget film, like many other George A. Romero films the movie keeps you entertained even when you know what will happen. I don't think I would watch this film again. It was not horrible or bad, but it just didn’t step out of the classical zombie movie story line.

-- Carlos Sepulveda is a senior currently attending Mount Miguel High. Carlos enjoys reading in his spare time and running. He is most interested in history, politics and world issues. Carlos likes to watch foreign films, comedies and dramas.

"I'm ready for my close up." (The Weinstein Company)


"Shoot in the head before you bury your dead." A striking quote from George Romero’s new zombie film “Diary of the Dead,” which is meant to take place the first night the dead started to rise and not as a continuation of the series. It is shown as a documentary in the making as a young film major and his friends deal with the horrors around them as the dead reanimate and the world is thrown into complete chaos.

The movie's approach tries to put you into the situation and makes you think about what could happen. Although meant to be a horror film, it was seen by others and myself as a comedy, a sort of “Shaun of the Dead 2.” It had its jumpy parts but for the most part just made the audience laugh about the fact zombies were causing chaos. Though I could never think horror and comedy could mix well, after seeing this I believe it could be a new genre all its own. There is more to this film then just the average gore and tradition of horror mixed with humor as the film deals with many points about the world today -- problems such as the media and the evasion of the truth. It also deals with how the United States would act during a disaster this big and it reminds us that although our country is a place of power and freedom it does not run as smoothly as many want us to think.

In one scene, we find the gang driving down the road to find what they believe is the cavalry -- the military -- coming to save them. They pull over and have the men board their Winnebago only to find out that like many others they too are involved in the looting going on all over the country. As our young filmmaker Jason Creed (played by Joshua Close) rolls tape on the whole situation, you see the look of power in the man they thought would help them to safety. He robs the gang of their food and other resources but leaves them their weapons. “Weapons are the means of survival to military men,” says the students’ professor. This scene shows that when all goes wrong, those we put our faith in can betray us and leave us in panic and confusion.

It can make you wonder what would really happen if something similar to this event were to happen.

Worries of the truth getting to you as you were cut off from many can be a scary thing. Jason, though seen as an idiot for filming the whole event, is really the truth seeker to something that could go down in history -- if history were even to exist at the end of it all.

In its entirety this movie was entertaining due to its comedic relief throughout its horrific story. Not recommended for those sensitive to blood or graphic scenes, But for those of you who can handle a little blood and brains, come and enjoy its entertainment factor.

As a fan of horror movies and the excitement of being scared there were too few scenes where I could feel my heart pound or experience the jump that comes with any scary or unexpected view. It’s not necessarily the best use of seven bucks I could think of but if you’re bored and have a sick and twisted sense of humor, it's a good experience that you can share with your friends.

-- Tony Galindo is a senior at Mount Miguel high. He was recently accepted at the Art institute of San Diego where he wants to major in game art design and pursue a career in environmental design. Writing  is a hobby of his as well as watching movies, so he thought it would be great to be able to share his opinions on film with people.

Filmmaker George A. Romero (The Weinstein Company)


George A. Romero is the man that's behind today's most popular horror movies. His gore genre has been impressed on young teenagers who follow his work like a dog chases after a stick. Though zombie movies may seem overrated, Romero somehow manages to catch the attention of the viewer with various interesting techniques such as his rare cruel comedy during suspense scenes and the now famous first person camera view.

Creating a new passion for zombie loving teenagers and filling them with excitement, his constant work leads to his new film “Diary of the Dead.” The film begins with a group of college students making a horror movie for a class project out in the woods. Then groundbreaking news shows them an incident of zombies attacking paramedics. When they find out everyone's evacuated, the group decides to pack up their bags and set off for home. One of the students decides to capture everything they do on a video camera, and this is what the viewer sees for the rest of the movie.

Throughout the journey they encounter many difficulties. They find out how people can change, forget about human principles, and only concern themselves with one priority -- survival. Along the trip the cameraman becomes obsessed to videotape every scene and problem they encounter, forgetting about his friends because he wants to make sure that whoever is left living will know the truth of what happened to the human race. Even though one might get dizzy from the shaking of the camera, it certainly keeps the viewer at the edge of their seat. This movie is filled with surprises and new ways of human slaughter that may seem comical, but it keeps one focused on what will happen next.

I would recommend this film to my friends and classmates. So go watch it!

-- Eduardo Duarte is a senior attending Mount Miguel High School with goals of becoming a graphic designer. He works part time at an Italian food restaurant and is dedicated when it comes to Mr. Hurst's fifth period English class. His classmates know him as the guy who tags all over his clothes. Eduardo's main focus is school and partying with his friends whenever possible.