George A. Romero’s career rises from the grave in his latest foray into the zombie horror genre that he created with his landmark 1968 film, ‘Night of the Living Dead.’ Romero followed up with the critically acclaimed ‘Dawn of the Dead’ in 1978, and finished the trilogy with the less successful ‘Day of the Dead’ in 1985. Romero returned to his zombie roots with ‘Land of the Dead’ in 2005, bringing back the style and sensationalist gore that made him a legend of the horror genre.
In his latest zombie-fest ‘Diary of the Dead,’ Romero begins with several film students attempting to make a low-budget horror movie (how coincidental) for class under the supervision of their melancholy professor. When the news of an undead outbreak crackles over the radio, Jason (Joshua Close), the cameraman, decides it is his duty to record the tragedy on camera for posterity, no matter the inherent danger. After collecting his girlfriend Debra (Michelle Morgan) from the dorms of Pittsburgh University, the students and professor pile in a Winnebago and try to get back to their respective homes. Of course, their journey is fraught with undead shenanigans and ordinary people taking advantage of the chaos to feed their greed.
The cast reacts well, but the dialogue occasionally falls flat, especially the motivational speeches from Debra. It should be said that, due to the plot of the film, most of the characters are reacting to scary things and are not challenged to act; even the traumatic moments seem to be glossed over later in the film in order to hurry the story along. The professor (Scott Wentworth), named once in the movie but more memorable for his hip flask, is a notable addition, but his memorable lines are frequently stepped on by Debra’s lame one-liners. The remaining characters have filler lines, such as: ‘I just killed someone!’ or ‘They aren’t really dead!’ or ‘We were going to be together forever