A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.
Year 1, Day 119
BEFORE: Next up on horror week: the first film in George A. Romero’s “Dead” series, Night of the Living Dead. Not much I know about this film beforehand other than it has zombies and I’m watching the sequel (first of four sequels in the series) tomorrow.
AFTER: Night of the Living Dead is quite impressive. There is so much that is bad and wrong about the film, both creatively and technically, but it was still very entertaining.
One of the biggest reasons for the myriad of problems is in the nature of the film: with a budget of $114,000 it was never meant to be a feature presentation, it is a B movie. Because of this, there are many problems with the audio, not fidelity-wise but more of a lack of sounds. The large zombie scenes don’t sound like there is a mob attacking the house and in the beginning there is too much reliance on the music to drive the story as opposed to sound effects or other ambient noises. The premise of the film is not bad and the plot actually progresses fairly well, but it is marred with poor dialogue and sub-par performances by the actors.
Given these problems and limitations though, I was amazed with how entertaining I found this film. The low-quality of the film gave it an unique style that turned the corny scenes into suspense-filled adventures. It’s not in the so-good-it’s-bad category but rather the bad parts transform into a big positive and draw for the film.
Looking at the big picture, Night of the Living Dead seems like more of a fluke than a trend. While it was an entertaining film, I don’t see the same formula being successful again. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow with the sequel, Dawn of the Living Dead and I’ll be happy to be proven wrong (that’s already happened multiple times with the marathon). For now though, if you’re looking for a great zombie film, Night of the Living Dead is a good choice.
RATING: 3 out of 5