Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.22%
Worth A Look48.89%
Just Average: 10%
Pretty Crappy: 6.11%
Sucks: 7.78%

15 reviews, 90 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Lucky Grandma by Jay Seaver

Vast of Night, The by Peter Sobczynski

High Note, The by Peter Sobczynski

Taking of Tiger Mountain, The by Jay Seaver

Trip to Greece, The by Peter Sobczynski

Night God by Jay Seaver

Alice (2019) by Jay Seaver

On a Magical Night (Chambre 212) by Jay Seaver

Driveways by Jay Seaver

Free Country by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Land of the Dead
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Doug Bentin

"Most non-fans probably won’t see it, which is too bad."
4 stars

Was it worth the wait? I dunno. Can any movie you’ve been waiting 20 years to see really live up to your hopes for it? Yeah, it’s a heck of a zombie thriller and a worthy successor to George A. Romero’s earlier zombie trilogy, but it’s certainly not the kind of cross-over success, like “The Ring” or “The Sixth Sense,” that will attract people who don’t usually patronize horror movies.

Too bad for them and too good for the rest of us. Name one thing that’s more annoying than listening to some Suzy Creamcheese whining, “Euew, that’s so gross” while clinging to her smirking boyfriend’s arm as they sit through a splatter-thon that neither of them has any real desire to see. Name just one. Go on. I’ll wait.

Time’s up.

I wish the picture could be a big hit for Romero—but then again, I don’t. More money in the till would get him another deal, but would he remain our old beloved George if Hollywood began to pay attention to him?

Okay, not a huge hit, but Jeez Louise, box office dropped off 73% from the opening weekend to the next one. That’s a greater drubbing than any other flick in the top 20 took. There have to be more zombiephiles in the world than that. There just have to be.

Should you see it? Don’t be stupid.

Simon Baker stars as Riley, an adventurer who makes his living by foraging in an armored truck called “Dead Reckoning” for food and necessary items in demand by the still-living who reside in a fancy Trumpian tower called Fiddler’s Green. Outside the tower, the regular folks live in a ghetto. The entire metropolis is protected on three sides by rivers. (The film was shot in Toronto but the city is a version of Pittsburgh.)

Working along with Riley for Kaufman, the rich guy who controls the wealth and the wealthy (Dennis Hopper) is Cholo (John Leguizamo), who has ambitions to move into the Green and let others do the food collecting. When he is blackballed by Kaufman, Cholo steals “Dead Reckoning” and threatens to destroy the city unless he’s paid a quick five million.

“I don’t deal with terrorists,” snarls Kaufman, who then sends Riley to retrieve his truck before the walking dead, who have evolved to the point of simple communication, planning, and use of tools, invade the city and pull down the tower.

Romero, who wrote and directed, says that he began shopping the script around three days before the terrorist attack on New York, and then had to put the project on hold for 18 months while Hollywood made nothing but “ice cream movies.”

Note here that “ice cream” doesn’t mean “cool.” It means touchy-feely.

Anyway, he must have been tweaking the screenplay all that time because the finished film plays like a deliberate satire of Dubya’s America. Romero’s zombie films have always commented on the American lifestyle of their era of their production, but the socio/political subtext has never stood in the way of a splattery good time.

The makeup effects by Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger are nothing less than awesome, and it’s unbelievably nice to see mechanical gags used in preference to CGI. Romero knows that this is decidedly retro, and it may be part of the reason why the film isn’t doing better box office, but it works just fine. (He begins the movie with the 1930s version of the Universal logo, the one with the plane circling a slowly spinning globe.) There’s an especially nice moment when an apparently decapitated zombie throws his chest forward, snapping his dangling head back onto his neck as he goes into attack mode.

You may also be surprised by the cleverness and sincerity of some of the dialogue. When Riley snaps off a life-saving shot to a zombie’s forehead, his companion says, “Nice shot.” “No,” Riley replies, “that was a good shot. There’s no such thing as a ‘nice’ shot.”

As the living dead become more human, the living become more brutal. Picking up from the end of “Night of the Living Dead,” Romero pictures the breathers as a pack of murderous thugs. The film’s trailer featured Hopper, standing with his arms to his sides, mumbling, “Zombies, man. They creep me out.” The line is used in the film, but the take chosen is a different one. As he says the line in the movie, Hopper is picking his nose.

If Hopper weren’t a rich Republican in real life, you’d swear he was making fun of them. If “Dawn of the Dead” skewered mindless consumerism, “Land” takes a satiric look at the kind of capitalists who make consumerism possible.

Terrific support is offered by Asia Argento (daughter of famed Italian horror director Dario Argento), Robert Joy, and Eugene Clark as Big Daddy, the zombie who is taking the living dead to the next level of existence. No, Asia doesn’t get naked or indulge in zombie sex. Hey, you don’t suppose, on the Director’s Cut DVD . . . Naw.

Most Romero fans won’t be disappointed with “Land of the Dead.” They may have hoped for more, but this is a Universal picture and that’s the studio that gave Rob Zombie so much hell over “House of 1,000 Corpses.”

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12288&reviewer=405
originally posted: 07/08/05 09:55:15
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell decent the original is still the best 3 stars
10/12/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Through numerous sequels and rip-offs, Romero manages to keep the corpses fresh. 4 stars
12/26/09 art THE 1932 film WHITE ZOMBIE was the best walking dead FILM! 2 stars
8/30/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Better than Diary, not as good as the first three. 4 stars
12/18/08 Craig D. There's a lot more here than a political subtext, Danny. Go watch your Transformers DVD. 4 stars
8/12/08 Shaun Wallner Bloody Awesome!!! 5 stars
6/10/07 Danny.G Ignore the Romero grovelling reviews, this is TV movie stuff.."oh wow, a political subtext" 1 stars
6/07/07 fools♫gold I loved "28 Days Later" much greater (a film I underrated), but this is cool. 5 stars
12/11/06 Angela Saunders Surprisingly better than expected. I actually loved it! 4 stars
11/23/06 David Pollastrini good gore with a little irony. 5 stars
8/24/06 havthat You'll never look at belly button piercings the same way. 4 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist One of the best zombie films since Night of the Living Dead!!!!! 5 stars
7/16/06 mark fun to watch-romero needs to complete this, however, this seems like a build-up 5 stars
7/14/06 drydock54321 lots of gore 4 stars
5/07/06 omar it was ok. the violence was awesome though 4 stars
3/17/06 MP Bartley Lack of doomy finality (unlike the others) makes this seem like a very good tv movie. 4 stars
3/06/06 matt mediocre, the ending was a huge letdown 3 stars
2/25/06 ali profasion 5 stars
2/20/06 Agent Sands Not scary at all. It is action-packed, though, and Dennis Hopper is fucking hilarious. 4 stars
1/13/06 ALDO Feel incomplete....bad character development. 2 stars
1/04/06 Indrid Cold The complete waste of Dennis Hopper is one of this stinker's less eggregious crimes. 2 stars
12/28/05 chris f a very good film 4 stars
12/20/05 JJ now i know how star wars fans felt when they saw phantom menace. romero should be ashamed 1 stars
12/15/05 JeromeBosch P.S. all that money and they couldn’t buy a helicopter? 3 stars
12/12/05 Jeanne Pittsburgh it really kind of sucks 1 stars
12/11/05 gray could have been better 4 stars
11/29/05 JeromeBosch Prompted me to take another look at 'DAWN' and appreciate that film even more. 3 stars
11/26/05 Lord Durvok II Romero + big, ostentatious budget = crap 2 stars
11/22/05 Guy Pretty lame all around. 1 stars
11/19/05 Sam Justus A super enjoyable zombie flick by George A. Romero, the man that started it all. 5 stars
11/14/05 Danny Disappointment. Gore for the sake of gore. Disgusting and not EVEN scary. 1 stars
11/04/05 MAttIFUL Painfully stupid! Dawn of the Dead was so much better... god that was awful 1 stars
10/30/05 K. Sear I don't know, maybe I expectected too much? 3 stars
10/26/05 deadwiz Gotta love zombies. Not romeros best, but it will do. 4 stars
10/25/05 Richard Brandt Who can see zombies being tortured without being reminded of Abu Ghraib? 4 stars
10/25/05 Linda Richardson "Zombies, man they creep me out" sums it up for me. 5 stars
10/25/05 chris fox (the god) good movie worth watching 4 stars
10/20/05 tatum Quite the unpleasant little gore FX resume film, twenty years too late 1 stars
10/19/05 othree sucksallass, Dawn of the Dead 2004 was better, Resident Evil2 was even better, *bleh* 1 stars
10/16/05 Vince Very enjoyable zombie flick by the man who started it all 4 stars
10/13/05 conker_99 Land of the dead was one of the best movies i have ever seen. But it was a little to short. 5 stars
10/13/05 carmen fratto He never explained how the zomie's got there in the first place . 3 stars
9/30/05 Phil Interesting idea........ but no! 3 stars
9/27/05 alvin crap***great effect make up, but the story is borng n no excitement at all, sucks*** 2 stars
9/21/05 Fritz Romero's brand of zombie-ism is old and tired. 2 stars
8/24/05 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne A fairly ineffectual and banal-retentive effort at making a horror flick 2 stars
8/18/05 ES An ok movie, cool premise, but the zombies are as unscary as can be 3 stars
8/16/05 alice very average, never suprised me 3 stars
8/12/05 Mark Louis Baumgart So-so FX & make-up. A heavy-handed, illogical & pretentious social message movie. *Yawn* 1 stars
8/09/05 John excellent. anyone who disagrees is wrong. 5 stars
8/05/05 Pierre Masterpiece! 5 stars
8/01/05 Ric Good cinematography, but that's about it. 1 stars
7/20/05 Shena Johnson It was an okay movie, but I think it can be better.Use your heart. 3 stars
7/11/05 the untrained eye sorry guys, disappointed 3 stars
7/09/05 asina better than any of that wes craven crap. 5 stars
7/08/05 ROY L. CAIN Nobody scares the hell out of you like Mr. Romero ! 5 stars
7/08/05 KingNeutron Some good "jump" moments, good FX, and good acting all around. 4 stars
7/07/05 lucas completely reinvents the genre of horror movies 5 stars
7/07/05 Dave Pretty Good movie even if its not up to par with Dawn or Night. 4 stars
7/06/05 Cedric It's AMAZING, go see it! 5 stars
7/05/05 Ole Man Bourbon Completely and utterly asinine. Looks like it was written by a 4th grader. 1 stars
7/04/05 ajay not really a gore fan, so this movie was laugh-out-loud bad. 2 stars
7/03/05 ART This film has the underlying theme of class struggle. 4 stars
7/02/05 Joe This movie sucks trust me, dont trust the high ratings on this movie 1 stars
7/02/05 Malcolm this was whack 2 stars
7/01/05 Eric Rollins Glossy revisionism - totally unnecessary 2 stars
6/30/05 eleni the unrated dvd will be the REAL version. still good, though. 4 stars
6/30/05 Caiphn Disappointed, pretty crazy gore however. The last bit of dialogue extreme cheese. 3 stars
6/29/05 John Gruber Social Commentary on political situation in USA... with zombies! 5 stars
6/29/05 Gray Could have been better 4 stars
6/29/05 John A Zombie film done right - great! 5 stars
6/28/05 dolemite Pretty sweet gore. I'd give it 5 just for that 5 stars
6/28/05 Kankasaur Zombie films satirizing social decay have been reborn in an era of ivory tower arrogance 5 stars
6/27/05 carlos r guzman Romero still has it(1978's Dawn still best), a bit hurried; still great - DVD maybe better 4 stars
6/26/05 Agent Sands The best American movie I've seen in the theater in 2005. No gratuitous formulaic subplots. 5 stars
6/26/05 vagile Better than worth a look if not really quite awesome. 5 stars
6/26/05 Sarah Reece I really did love this film. It's a shame that the movie did go by in a hurry. 5 stars
6/25/05 Lord Jiggy Swiftian satire it is not...easy shots at Bush...oh, so original (NOT). 2 stars
6/25/05 Darren Shea Satisfying, if a bit obvious and heavy-handed. Better acting than usual for a Romero flick. 4 stars
6/25/05 malcolm everything a zombie movie is supposed to be. take a lesson copycats. 4 stars
6/25/05 Uncle Phucker Would like to see MORE of the good stuff. Hopefully a DVD will reveal this. Worst of the 4. 4 stars
6/25/05 DennyRoss Zombie fans (like me) rejoice in spite of the cliche dialogue from the main characters. 4 stars
6/25/05 asina romero's swan song is also his masterpiece. 5 stars
6/25/05 K. Sear The weakest one yet, but still not a terrible film. 4 stars
6/24/05 maysin willie aames It's no DAWN, it's not even DAY but it's still better than the imitators... 4 stars
6/24/05 Trenchtown Awesome, Except Dennis Hopper Did his Water World Character all over again 4 stars
6/22/05 David Hollands Note quite Dawn, but well-acted, with excellent tonal balance, and wonderful direction. 5 stars
6/19/05 payback Finally, this is how you make a zombie flick 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  24-Jun-2005 (R)
  DVD: 18-Oct-2005



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast