Friday, October 31, 2014

Movie Review: "Night of the Living Dead" (1968)

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Movie"Night of the Living Dead"
Director: 1968
Year: George A. Romero
Rating: UR
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

A brother and sister named Johnny (Russell Streiner) and Barbra (Judith O'Dea) are visiting the grave of their father. At the graveyard, they are attacked by a zombie which grabs Barbra, leading Johnny to help her to fight it. Johnny is able to free Barbra, but is not so lucky himself. Barbra flees to a nearby house to hide. At this house, she meets Ben (Duane Jones), who also came across the house when fleeing from a hoard of the walking dead. Ben is very resourceful and has been able to fight off many of the living dead, but as more and more come, they are left with no choice but to barricade themselves inside and hope help arrives. After locking themselves inside, they discover two couples, and one of the couples has an ill daughter that is barricaded in the basement.  The group must all find a way to work together escape or survive. 

It doesn't get much more classic than this movie. All other movies about the living dead, the walking dead, zombies, creatures of the un-dead, all received their inspiration from this original classic in some way or another. We have tried to watch it on several occasions, and don't hate us for it, but we have fallen asleep every time. This is not because of the film itself, but rather, we watch horror movies at night, so when we do, sometimes we start them too late. The first half hour of this movie drags quite slowly, except for the beginning scene where we first see the zombies, well, not really zombies, since they are never referred to by this name. It seems like Barbra and Ben take an excruciatingly long time to board up the house for safety, and we get that it's tension building, but it's rather slowly done and kind of boring. The "walkers" themselves are really cool and simplistic. Where this film shines, however, is in its fear-mongering and hysterics from both the people fighting off the walkers, and the media itself. It's almost like watching today's hysteria with Ebola play out on television, just in the 1960's. The film does a spectacular job not only showing fear of the unknown, but also how fear can manipulate people into turning on one another, even in times of crisis. There are some freaky moments, aided a lot by the brilliant camera work by George A. Romero. It was groundbreaking for its time, but some aspects of the film are definitely outdated. Today, somewhat unfortunately, people have a thirst for blood and a want for more graphic violence and death, so shows like "The Walking Dead" cater to those who crave brain-splatters and blood-squibs. The violence and terror shown in "Night of the Living Dead" was a pioneer for the horror genre when it was made, though it is timid and tame by today's standards. We love the fact that it was filmed in black and white and added to its overall eerie aesthetic. All in all, this is a decent movie, but it has aged a little to its detriment.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching"The Exorcist"

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