Diary of the Dead
|Diary of the Dead|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||George A. Romero|
|Produced by||George A. Romero
|Written by||George A. Romero|
|Music by||Norman Orenstein|
|Edited by||Michael Doherty|
|Distributed by||The Weinstein Company Dimension Films|
|Box office||$5.3 million|
Diary of the Dead is a 2007 horror film by George A. Romero. Although independently produced, it was distributed theatrically by Dimension Films and was released in cinemas on February 15, 2008 and on DVD by The Weinstein Company and Genius Entertainment on May 20, 2008.
Diary of the Dead is the fifth film in Romero's Dead series of zombie films. It is not a direct sequel to previous films in the series, but occurs within the same universe of the original trilogy according to Romero.
The film begins with footage from a news cameraman and reporter, who are covering a story about an immigrant man killing his wife and son before committing suicide. The son and wife turn into zombies and kill several medical personnel and police officers but leave one medic and a reporter bitten before being killed. The narrator, Debra, explains that most of the footage, which was recorded by the cameraman, was never broadcast.
A group of young film studies students from the University of Pittsburgh are in the woods making a horror film along with their faculty adviser, Andrew Maxwell, when they hear news of an apparent mass-rioting and mass murder. Two of the students, Ridley and Francine, decide to leave the group, while the project director Jason goes to visit his girlfriend Debra (the narrator). When she cannot contact her family, they travel to Debra's parent's house in Scranton, Pennsylvania. En route Mary runs over a reanimated highway patrolman and three other zombies. The group stops and Mary attempts to kill herself. Her friends take her to a hospital, where they find the dead becoming zombies, and thereafter fight to survive while traveling to Debra's parents. Mary becomes a zombie and is slain by Maxwell. Later Gordo is bitten by a zombie and soon afterward dies from it. His girlfriend Tracy begs the others not to shoot him immediately but later is forced to shoot him herself. Soon they are stranded when their vehicle's fuel line breaks. They are attacked by zombies while Tracy repairs the vehicle with the assistance of a deaf Amish man named Samuel. Before escaping, Samuel is bitten and kills himself and his attacker with a scythe.
Passing a city they are stopped by an armed group of survivors, the leader being a member of the National Guard. There, Debra receives a message from her younger brother, who informs her that he and their parents were camping in West Virginia at the time of the initial attacks and are now on their way home. The students then leave for Debra's house. Their only reliable source of information is now the Internet, aided by bloggers. When they arrive at Debra's house, they find her reanimated mother and brother feeding on her father. They escape from the house and are stopped by different National Guardsmen, who rob them, leaving them only their weapons and their two cameras. They arrive at Ridley's mansion, where Ridley explains that his parents, the staff, and Francine were killed and he buried them out back. Ridley then shows Debra and Tony that he "buried" his parents, the staff and Francine by dumping their bodies into his family's swimming pool. Ridley then abandons Debra and Tony and is revealed to have been bitten by a zombie himself, explaining his odd behavior. Ridley soon dies, comes back as a zombie, kills Eliot, and attacks Tracy and Jason. Jason is able to distract Ridley long enough for Tracy to escape. Tracy then leaves the group in the group's RV. The remaining survivors then hide in an enclosed shelter within the house, with the exception of Jason, who left the group to continue filming. He is then attacked and infected by Ridley. Maxwell kills Ridley with an antique sword and Debra kills Jason, and continues filming. However, a large number of zombies begin to attack the mansion, forcing the survivors to take shelter in the mansion's panic room.
At the end of the film, Debra watches Jason's recording of a hunting party shooting people who were left to die and be reanimated as shooting targets, and wonders if the human race is worth saving.
- Shawn Roberts as Tony Ravello
- Joshua Close as Jason Creed
- Michelle Morgan as Debra Moynihan
- Joe Dinicol as Eliot Stone
- Scott Wentworth as Andrew Maxwell
- Philip Riccio as Ridley Wilmott
- George Buza as Biker
- Amy Lalonde as Tracy Thurman
- Tatiana Maslany as Mary Dexter
- R .D. Reid as Samuel
- Tino Monte as Newscaster
- Megan Park as Francine Shane
- Martin Roach as Stranger
- Alan van Sprang as Colonel
- Matt Birman as Zombie Trooper
- Laura DeCarteret as Bree
- Janet Lo as Asian Woman
- Rebuka Hoye as Zombie
- Todd William Schroeder as Brody
- Alexandria DeFabiis as Zombie
- Nick Alachiotis as Fred
- George A. Romero as Chief of Police
- Boyd Banks as Armorist
- Gregory Nicotero as Zombie Surgeon
- Chris Violette as Gordo Thorsen
Re-establishing the Dead franchise
The film is the fifth film in Romero's Dead series and there are some notable references to earlier Romero films, as when the news track from 1968's Night of the Living Dead is used in the scene where the cast is in Ben's garage; but the film is not a direct sequel to any of Romero's films: the film is "a rejigging of the myth" according to Romero, and is meant as a side story during the same timeframe as Night of the Living Dead. Even though the fourth film, Land of the Dead (2005), was studio-produced through Universal Studios, Diary of the Dead was produced by Romero-Grunwald Productions, formed by Romero and his producer friend Peter Grunwald, with Artfire Films.
Romero announced the film in August 2006 after signing a deal to write and direct it and filming began its four-week shoot in Toronto on October 19, 2006.
Romero also made an extensive use of computer-generated imagery because it allowed him to shoot the film quickly and add the effects later. Also, the film's style, as if shot with hand-held cameras, necessitated a shift from his usual method of working, which involves filming multiple camera angles and assembling scenes in the editing room. Instead, Romero filmed much of the action in long, continuous takes: "The camera was 360, so everybody was an acrobat, ducking under the lens when the camera came past you," said Romero. "The cast was great. They had a lot of theater experience. I think they could have gone from scene one all the way to the end of the movie, all in a single shot."
DVD and Blu-ray releases
The DVD was released by The Weinstein Company and Genius Entertainment on May 20, 2008. Special features include a feature-length documentary, an audio commentary, deleted scenes, Behind the Scenes featurette, and five short films that came about via a MySpace contest. It was released the same day as a new authorized edition of Night of the Living Dead on DVD was released by The Weinstein Company.
The film was released on Region 2 on June 29, 2008, in single disc, double disc and Blu-ray editions. The double-disc and Blu-ray both contained a UK exclusive interview from Frightfest 08, and a feature-length documentary entitled One for the Fire - The Legacy of Night of the Living Dead. The double-disc edition was released in limited, numbered steelbook packaging, and online retailer Play.com sold an exclusive edition in a slipcase. On October 21, 2008, a Blu-ray version was released in the United States.
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