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March 18, 2013

Movie Review: Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead (2012)

Reviewed by John Beutler

I have to admit, for a small, under-the-radar well as always being on the lookout for a fresh take on the well-worn 'living dead' genre...I was genuinely excited about this. The trailer seems to promise so much: A group of devoted and knowledgeable horror film fans, having just run themselves through the crazed gauntlet of a recent horror film convention (...this reviewer does that very thing, every year...and absolutely loves it, even at a relatively seasoned age...), get waywardly invited to an isolated farmhouse in the backwoods, for a horror based, free-for-all party. At a certain point, they all 'pass out'...and inexplicably awaken in strangely familiar surroundings, wearing strangely familiar clothing...specifically, in...What?? A certain cemetery, and later, in a certain isolated farmhouse...progressively surrounded by flesh-eating zombies??

The confused group, still assured of their own inner identities, come to realize that somehow, they have all quite literally become the varied characters in director George Romero's classic zombie flick, "Night of the Living Dead". Knowing full well of the events that transpired in the well as the fatal outcome of each of the characters...the questions begin to arise: Will they make the same mistakes?? Will they not make the same mistakes, and survive until...possibly walk away from 'the end'?? Or will they make new mistakes?? An intriguing premise, indeed...that is, if the filmmaking powers-that-be had perhaps kept with some sort of supernatural and other-worldly origin to the character's hapless change of realities; true, for a good portion of the film, there seemed to be an almost dark, horror-based Oz-like quality...almost leaning toward an appealing flavor not that far removed from the recent 'Cabin in the Woods' (...a now-notable horror sleeper surprise, and highly recommended).

Regretfully, without giving too much away, the film's conclusion abruptly skews into 'Scream' territory, in a deadly bid towards the ultimate 'reality' haunted house, role-playing scare...culminating in a 'WTF' let-down ending (...though, all due credit to the filmmakers, for an opening moment in the movie, featuring a cameo by cult film fav, Sid Haig, which potentially, albeit deceptively gives away that applicable and poignant 'red herring', so to speak, which may be waved off by most viewers, once the 'meat' of the movie unfolds...that is, until the end). Overall, the performances were typical, for a film such as this...though, the more amusing and ironic moments arise, when the dislocated movie characters argue amongst themselves, very much as in the Romero film...but in this case, the conflicts ensue, not just as the result of eluding the encircling 'living dead', but also, the need to recall the details and the 'established rules' of the original Romero film, so that they can possibly survive their impromptu (...and quite real) 'movie' experience.

The 'gore' factor here is effective, and much more amplified, per today's standard, rather than the suggested and implied level of the classic Romero film. In the end, this proves to be one of those great little films...ruined by a contrived, disappointing, yawn-inducing bummer of an ending...

1 comment:

  1. I thought this quite a decent little flick that was well worth the Netflix rental. I am surprised nobody did this concept until now, considering Night of the Living Dead is in the realm of public domain. That slow-mo/speed-up effect they randomly added when characters were walking or moving was annoying and cheapened the look of the film.