Macabre...ish Horror Review: Land of the Dead




George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead, 2005/ 1 hr 37 min. Long after a zombie apocalypse, survivors have regrouped and set up settlements, that are largely independent of each other, governing themselves. One such place exists in Pittsburgh, it is feudal in nature, there are the wealthy and powerful who live in a high rise building, still in good condition called Fiddler’s Green. The rest of the population is poor and lives in squalor. 


The ruler of this outpost is Paul Kaufman



(Dennis Hopper), he finances much of the nightlife employing many in the settlement, as well as a zombie proof, armored vehicle named Dead Reckoning. 



Designed and Captained by Riley Denbo (Simon Baker). He and his crew go out into the wilds and scavenge supplies. On one outing they notice Zombies exhibiting learning behaviors that concern him. 



After returning from a mission, he visits a bar and notices a woman named Slack, (Asia Argento) being forced into a cage with zombies, for the night’s entertainment. Riley, with the help of his friend, Charlie (Robert Joy), he saves Slack and discovers he interrupted her execution, ordered by Kaufman.



Meanwhile, Riley’s second in command, Cholo (John Leguizamo) was denied a place in Fiddler’s Green by Kaufman and he goes rogue. Taking Dead Reckoning and threatening to destroy Fiddler’s Green. Kaufman then tasks Riley to recover Dead Reckoning with a new team. Many of which die on the way.



Upon finding the vehicle, Riley disables the weaponry by remote and tricks Cholo, forcing him and his partner out.  He is soon bitten by a zombie and declines to be killed. He wants to experience zombie-ism. And in that state he goes after Kaufman, who tries to escape via limo until it and he is blown up by another zombie.



At the same time, the settlement has become overrun with zombies, their barricades having been breached. Including Fiddler’s Green, who’s occupants who managed to escape are mercifully put out of their misery as they’re cornered. The poorer surviving  population having been led out a different way and with the outpost in ruins, Riley heads to Canada in Dead Reckoning.


This is one my favorite new zombie, after apocalypse flicks. It’s fun and well paced. Just enough blood and gore, enough grit to be believably apocalyptic plus a lot of recognizable faces that you wouldn’t think you’d see in this genre. And it’s a Romero with an Argento in it and that’s pretty great! 


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