George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead has finally made it on to DVD and Blu-ray! This movie has been talked about and promoted for what seems like easily over a year and a half now. Some lucky souls actually got to catch it at one of several dozen film festivals or possibly at a horror convention. I was fortunate enough to get to see it at Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas, TX. So how does it fair on DVD and Blu-ray? Let’s check it out.
First, Let’s talk the film a little. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It seems that the initial reaction to the film has been mixed. I believe I actually read somewhere that it was lackluster at one point. I found the film to be an interesting piece of social commentary as is usual with most if not all of Romero’s …of the Dead entries. I almost feel that the movie was meant to make us think about the fine line between life and death. Possibly the debate over letting someone who is in a coma or brain dead stay on a respirator or pull the plug. It made you think about what you would do if your loved one, son, daughter, father, or mother had been bitten by a zombie would you kill them or just keep them alive and chained up until they died naturally? That seems like a far-fetched thing to have to deal with, but if you’ve seen The Crazies then you can kind of get a grasp on the concept that the government could create some type of chemical warfare weapon that really could cause something like that to happen! Alright, so maybe I do sound a little crazy.
The film revolves around “a small island off the coast of Delaware, [where] two families live locked in a struggle for power and control over the fate of the undead. The O’Flynns approach the zombie plague with a shoot-to-kill attitude. The Muldoons feel that the zombies should be quarantined and kept “alive,” in hopes that a solution will be discovered. For both families, existence on Plum Island is a nightmarish world where humans are the minority and zombies rule.”
The atmosphere of this film really is great. It all takes place on a remote island and definitely accomplishes an air of being isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. Most of the time in the film it’s raining and dark. The film also takes the series in a “back-to-the-basics” direction. Like the first film in the series, Survival of the Dead puts you in the middle of nowhere and pits the action and conflicts once again between man, morality, and the walking dead.
The special effects and gore are what you’ve come to expect from Romero’s …of the Dead movies. There’s plenty of interesting ways explored to kill a zombie. Of course, all of them somehow center on the head sooner or later. After all, to properly kill a zombie you have to destroy the brain. Survival has more than it’s fair share of head shots, head bashing, and decapitations.
As far as notable actors are concerned, you do have a couple genre stars that appear. You’ve got Alan Van Sprang who returns from Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead. Devon Bostick (Saw VI, Saw IV, Land of the Dead, Godsend) portrays Boy. Kenneth Welsh (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Covenant, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Fog) portrays the head of the O’Flynn clan. Then you’ve got Richard Fitzpatrick (The Boondock Saints II: All Saint’s Day, Breach, Talk to Me, 16 Blocks), who portrays the head of the Muldoon clan. Newcomer Kathleen Munroe plays the dual role of twins Janet and Jane. Munroe gets the honor of playing a zombie and one of the living.
On the 2-Disc Ultimate Undead Edition and Blu-ray, you’ve got special features that include Dual-option menus: Human vs. zombie; Introduction by Romero (with the option to play it before the film); Audio commentary by Romero, actor Kenneth Welsh, executive producer Peter Grunwald, film editor/executive producer Michael Doherty and stunt coordinator / 2nd-unit director/actor Matt Birman; Audio commentary by Romero and Dread Central’s Steve Barton; “Time With George” featurette; HDNet: A Look at Survival of the Dead; “Walking After Midnight” full-length documentary; “Sarge” short film; Fangoria.com interviews with Romero; “A Minute of Your Time” shorts – A Message to Sitges, Midnight Madness, Zombie Walks, Welsh Wisdom, A Bloody Mess, Horsing Around, Getting to Location, Undead Interview, A Just Reward, Bang Your Head, A Man in Uniform, Fanboy at Heart, A Little Swim, and Storyboard Comparisons; and “How to Create Your Own Zombie Bite” by Backyard FX featurette.
The single disc release special features include Dual-option menus: Human vs. zombie; Introduction by Romero (with the option to play it before the film); Audio commentary by Romero, actor Kenneth Welsh, executive producer Peter Grunwald, film editor/executive producer Michael Doherty, and stunt coordinator / 2nd unit director/actor Matt Birman; Audio commentary by Romero and Dread Central’s Steve Barton; Time with George featurette, and HDNet: A Look at Survival of the Dead.
Overall, Survival of the Dead on DVD or Blu-ray should be enough to satisfy any fan of the film. Any of the three versions on disc have quite a lot of extra features. I feel the movie itself is entertaining and a good addition to the …of the Dead series.
Source: Dread Central