asianxcore's "October Horror Movie Challenge" 2009
1. The Funhouse (1981):
Tope Hooper sure loves his deranged families. Though his output since TCM has been shoddy at best, I actually enjoyed this film. It's very slow to start, but Hooper is lucky to have such a great set piece (sketchy carnival) to push the film along. Also what a random looking villain.
2. Ebola Syndrome (1996):
Anthony Wong rules. Though I have him firmly planted in my head "Supe. Wong" in Infernal Affairs, this was quite a treat for me. Though the film jumps from being a full-blown out Exploitation film to part Horror, it's surprisingly quite funny and disgusting at the same time. Wong's character Kai is completely despicable yet entertaining at many moments of the film. Pretty random (but fun) film.
3. The Evil Dead (1981):
Classic. Any self-respecting Horror fan has this in his/her collection. What else needs to be said about this film? It's moody, atmospheric, the effects (though somewhat dated) still hold up and are effective. What amazes me the most about the film is how much Raimi was able to get out of his Actors (especially the female leads). Linda's (Betsy Baker) transformation is still ridiculously creepy years after I first saw it.
4. Demonia (1990):
With all due respect to Lucio Fulci, this is one of his worst films. Not worst in that it's completely unwatchable, worst as in it doesn't do anything particularly good nor do anything particularly horrible. Honestly, it's right down the middle of the road. It's the Horror Film equivalent to Vanilla Ice Cream, which we all know Fulci is not. The script is extremely dull and the characters revel in it. Though the film does offer some neat set pieces (the Monastery) and some random bits of solid gore, there isn't much to see other than that.
5. Alucarda (1978):
What at times seemed like a run-of-the-mill Religious Horror film, manages to be saved by Director Juan Lopez Moctezuma. His push for the film to get even more extreme as the film goes on, coupled with a gorgeous eye for framing and visual photography helps the film along. Acting isn't anything to write home about but patient viewers will find the finale a tremendous payoff. The pacing is a little slow for a film that only runs 70+ minutes but there is lots to see/experience in that time frame. Blood-filled Coffins, ridiculous amounts of screaming, non-stop Blasphemy, random bits of nudity, and Exploding Bloody Nuns...what more could you want?
6. Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper (1980):
Though I can always commend Joe D'Amato for going over the top with his films, it's always a running joke that he has problem making them more than that. Other than some great death scenes (one being completely ridiculous/hilarious) the film has nothing going for it for most of it's run time. The best parts of the film occur in the last 30 minutes when all but the actual characters in the film have figured out something is wrong on the island. Super schlocky and absurd, but nothing more than that.
7. Raw Meat (1972):
I'm usually not for humanizing villains in Horror films, but this is one instance where I thought it sort of worked. I was actually surprised at the amount of scenes devoted to the human qualities of what is obviously physically portrayed as something completely inhuman. I loved both Donald Pleasence and Norman Rossington in this. They both add a splash of humor to scenes that don't involve the ghastly scenes taking place in London's Underground. The film moves along at a very slow pace but the final scene in the Underground with Patricia (Sharon Guerney) was done quite well, though rushed. Neat little film with lots of detective work, darkness and rotting corpses.
8. Torso (1973):
Push past the typical Horror/Giallo character archetypes and what you have left is one fun little film. The film is decently paced for it's first hour and then goes for a great change of pace during it's final act. It's both mind-numbingly tense as well as exciting. Though also common to the genre, I loved the numerous red herrings that were thrown into the film. Also worth mentioning is Tina Aumont is gorgeous in this film.
9. The Omen (1976):
One of the best Horror films of all-time as well as one of the best Religious Horror films. Gregory Peck does an amazing job playing a father pushed to the brink of madness. What I love about this film is for almost a 2 hour film, the pace is just right. There is always something to observe, learn, or hear during it's run time. The score is fantastic and is perfect for the film. Though the film is rooted in Horror, it bounces back and forth between the genre and Mystery. As the "mystery" unfolds to the characters, it is constantly interesting and engaging. The mood is bleak/depressing from the minute the film starts and never does the film let up. Damien (Harvey Stephens) is one creepy little kid.
10. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984):
This is the Wes Craven I will always miss. Containing one of the best origin stories for any Horror Movie Villain/Icon ever, the film delivers on all fronts. The film does have it's moments for jump scares but Craven pushes the film to be more than that. He constantly blurs the line between reality and dreams, to a point where we as an audience are trying to constantly figure out where we are or if our characters have fallen asleep. There are also some downright brilliant visual shots and cues in this film. From Nancy's (Heather Langenkamp) first dream at school or Glen's (Johnny Depp) infamous scene. There is so much to like about this film for Horror fans that it was an absolute joy to watch this film again.
11. Them (Ils) (2006):
Part of the "New Wave of French Horror", David Moreau and Xavier Palud's film is an extremely fun and tense Horror/Thriller film. When it works, the film is a non-stop sensory overload that will tear into every one of your last nerves. The Cat-and-Mouse nature of the film does work extremely well due to fantastic audio cues and the overall minimalistic nature of most of the film. Unfortunately, the film does dip a bit during it's final act when the mystery is broadly unfolded. Even then, the first 60+ minutes are well worth the price of admission.
12. Mark Of The Devil (1970):
Just as much silly as it is over-the-top and vile, this little Horror/Exploitation gem definitely delivers for the patient. Pacing is a little slow but in it's 90+ minute run time, the film throws all the usual pieces of the Horror/Exploitation genres into the mix and then some. Though filmed like a 1970's Fabio, Udo Kier is fantastic as Christian, who fights injustice in the name of the Church. Credit also has to go to Reggie Nalder as the extremely unlikeable and grotesque character Albino. Lots of gore, torture set pieces/devices, random bits of sleaze and other oddballs fill the run time. For a film that does have it's story based in Historical roots, it's a little too silly, but a strong effort nonetheless.
13. Last House On Dead End Street (1977):
One of the films from the UK "Video Nasties" list that I completely agree with. Not for the effects (which are slightly dated, but come together well) but for the entire tone of the film. The tone of the film is completely dark, nasty, filthy, bathing in a world where there is no hope for anyone. It goes also without saying the film is completely odd and insane during most of it's run time (last 20 minutes are no exception). Not for the weak of heart but definitely recommended for Horror/Exploitation fans looking for a little kick in the teeth. It's easy to see this film's influence on the Toe Tag Pictures' "August Underground" series.
14. The Thing (1982):
John Carpenter's remake of the 1950's original is easily one of my favorite Sci-Fi/Horror films. The film breezes by and constantly is engaging/interesting. It contains a ridiculous amount of memorable scenes (some of which I absolutely love) and acting is great all around. For a film that is almost 28 years old, it never feels dated at any point. The effects are still fantastic in all of their confusing, awe-inspiring, bloody and goopy glory. The constant feeling of both paranoia and isolation (some of which can be attributed to the setting) is also one of my favorite things about the film.
15. Ginger Snaps (2000):
Seeing as the Werewolf sub-genre of Horror doesn't spawn many good films, makes this a surprise entry to the group. The film obviously contains parallels comparing Lycanthropy to Maturation/Female Menstruation. Though the idea sounds silly and extreme on paper, it actually works in this context of the film. I wasn't too fond of the overtly Goth overtones of our two main characters, but both have great chemistry with each other and command their leads. It's interesting to see Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) grow apart (and closer) because of events throughout the film. They are (as the film states), "connected at the wrist" in the begininning, and it's fascinating to see how much they change not only (obviously) physically but emotionally throughout the film.
16. Scream (1996):
Part parody/satire, part Horror Film, Wes Craven's collaboration with Kevin Williamson is quite the successful one. The film's characters are obviously self aware of Horror Film rules and many play by them. Not only are there nods to Slasher Films of yore, but also a handful of references to Wes Craven himself (NOES references). This makes for a very fun film for not only general audiences but Horror fans alike. Say what you will about this film (it spawned many clones/modern Slasher films) but it stands very well on it's own. Oddly enough, the film's cast reads like an obituary for many actors whom were predicated to boom but fizzled instead. Regardless, the film is a solid entry in the Slasher sub-genre with it's complete mix of self aware cliches, high energy and random bits of humor. It also contains one of the more iconic Slasher villains in Horror Film history. Though Craven did put out a number of Horror films post-NOES, I still feel this was his first good film since then. The other two films in the Scream Trilogy do nothing but destroy the film's mythos, but the first film will always be good for a nice Halloween Night Romp.
17. The Mangler (1995):
Other than random bits of Splatter and Gore, there isn't much to see here unfortunately. Not much is very scary or horrifying about the film. A possessed Steam Iron? Hmmm...not so much. The actual machine is quite the technical feat and is a great set piece for the film (when the characters are around it), but it offers nothing else. The film plays off more as a Mystery than Horror and is a little more interesting when everything finally unfolds. Robert Englund's performance as Mr. Gartley can't save how extremely boring and long-winded this film is. Ending is also quite laughable.
18. Pandorum (2009):
Surprisingly, I enjoyed this film. It certainly offers nothing new to either the Sci-Fi or Horror genres, but I thought it was solid for what it was. Though we sort of get a garbled explanation for the inhabitants of the ship, they are effective throughout the film. The final act (which could have done without one little plot point) was great and I loved the ending. The reveal was actually a lot better than I had imagined it to be. Set pieces in the ship were fantastic, Quaid is underused, and Antje Traue feels like another tacked on Sci-Fi Heroine to me. Overall the film was enjoyable (amongst sometimes dizzying camera work and loud noises) and gets an extra point for having a character who speaks Vietnamese.
19. [REC] (2007):
Leave it to Spain to provide the world with one of the best Horror Films to come out in a long time. Just when you thought Horror Films had hit a brick wall, that Zombie films got stale, or that "Reality/Kinetic" cinematography was gimmicky, Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza's [REC] proves you wrong. The film has so many great things going for it (more than I can list here) and is constantly engaging. The setting is perfect. Not only do we purposely get isolated but even the structure of the building (tall/many floors, spiral staircase, narrow) gives a sense of claustrophobia. An immense feeling that there might be no hope, constantly rears it's ugly head. One of my absolute favorite things about [REC] is that all the performances feel very natural and extremely emotional. There is no "cheesy" acting here, only a ridiculous level of panic, anger, confusion and energy. I had read reports that most of the dialogue/actions are improvised, which do no surprise me in the least and takes this film over the top. If you haven't seen this little Spanish gem, run out and see it now!
20. Cheerleader Camp (1987):
Leif Garrett in a Slasher Film. Yes, you heard me right. The 80's spawned many themed Slasher Films, some which would go on to influence future films and some which blended into obscurity. Cheerleader Camp is one of the latter. The film never really gains it ground nor does it deliver on basic rewards from a good Slasher Film. As far as themed Slashers go, the film should have been great out the gate. Unfortunately, even with Cheerleaders and random bits of T&A, the film is dull all the way through. Only 2 kills amongst the body count stand-out (most are done off-screen or feel rushed/random), but even then the film drowns itself. It's main problem is that it plays out more like a Teen Sex Comedy first rather than anything Horror related. At least Betsy Russell is around to look at.
21. Prison (1988):
One of my favorite forgotten 80's Horror Films. Renny Harlin's film takes the tried-and-true formula of the "Haunted House" Horror Film and turns it on it's ear. No, it doesn't necessarily re-invent the formula as it makes it about 100 times more fun. Instead of a loving family moving into a house for a new beginning, we have inmates moving into an old abandoned prison because of overpopulation. The antagonist here is still an angry spirit, but instead of household items, this spirit has an entire prison at it's disposal. What does that mean? Makes for great atmosphere (rusty metal, flooded hallways) and inventive kill sequences. Harlin's film features one of my all-time favorite death scenes (in a Horror Film) and does not skimp just there on creative death scenes. The film is fun, gory and knows exactly what it is, never trying anything outside the tried-and-true formula. Might not work for many Horror Films, but it succeeds here.
22. Night Of The Living Dead (1990):
Tom Savini directing and George Romero in charge of the screenplay? How could this be bad? The magical duo of Romero/Savini manage to conjure up not only a remake that is worthy of it's fantastic original, but one of the best Horror remakes period. The two leads are great (Tony Todd and Patricia Tallman), as well as Tom Towles as the tremendously unlikable Cooper. Pacing is spot on and the film moves by briskly. FX work (Gore, Makeup) knock one right out of the park. One of my favorite things about the new screenplay is that it toys with your knowledge of the original film (Johnny/Barbara in the Cemetery). My only wish is a future release of the full "Rated X" cut someday, as many of the cut scenes show up as extras on the Deleted Scenes.
23. Zombieland (2009):
Straight-forward and tons of fun. That's really all I wanted from this film and that's exactly what it delivered. Performances were decent all around, though Woody Harrelson and the special "Cameo" stuck out in my mind. The film definitely delivered on the level of laughs and gore. What I appreciated most about the film was how it moved along quickly but also kept the energy high. A film like this would definitely suffer from any down-time and luckily for the audience, there isn't much. Definitely looking forward to seeing this one again. Also it's worth mentioning that I seriously think Jesse Eisenberg is Michael Cera's acting clone.
24. Demons (1985):
Take your standard Zombie film, replace them with Demons, crank up the 80's Metal, throw in some Coke-heads for fun and you have the Ultra Cheese-Fest that is Lamberto Bava's "Demons". The plot is extremely thin (though the film within a film is a neat idea) and it's characters even thinner. So why is it that I enjoy this film so much on multiple viewings? It's simple really. Bava's film is a 90+ minute, Demon-infested, bloody, gory, random green vomit of a good time. FX by Sergio Stivaletti are solid and I love one of the first Demon transformation scenes. The film is constantly gory and early on extremely goopy. The film is just good fun and contains some of the most ridiculous scenes in Horror. If you don't believe me, just watch the final act.
25. Sleepaway Camp (1983):
Let's get this out of the way first. This film features one of the most memorable final shots and scenes in all of Horror. It might shock, disturb and confuse you, or it might not do any of the above. Now that we've addressed that, "Sleepaway Camp" is a neat little 80's Slasher. For the most part the film follows closely with the formula laid out by other 80's Slashers. What it does best is where it keeps it interesting throughout. The ending is certainly one of those aspects. But where I find the film the most interesting lies in two other points of the film. First off the cast, which is mostly comprised of younger kids for it's main characters. This changes up the formula a smidge from normal Slashers, as no matter how mean the characters get in this film, you have to keep telling yourself they are just children. The other thing I love about this film is that it's gruesome without bathing in a ridiculous amount of blood and gore. Sure there is a little blood here and there but most of the inventive kills happen either off-screen or away from direct point of contact. It's commendable as many films in this sub-genre revel in buckets of gore. Though the sequels (let's not count "Return To Sleepaway Camp") to this film upped the inventive kills (and level of Cheesiness), neither could hold a flame to this Slasher Classic.
26. Pumpkinhead (1988):
Stan Winston's directorial debut is quite the fun film. An accident which then turns into a continuous series of bad decisions and regret fills the rest of the film. I have to give credit to Winston for making most of his characters human. They realize when they make mistakes and try to make amends for them. My only little qualm about that is some characters in the film have a change of heart a little too quick. What I enjoyed most about the film is the level of not only Folklore/Fairy tales but a splash of a Supernatural element. Finally (and obviously), Winston's FX are great here and Pumpkinhead is quite the sight to look at (when you do get a good view of it). R.I.P Stan Winston
27. The Descent (2005):
Neil Marshall's film is easily one of my favorite Horror Films in the past decade. What could have easily spiraled into a completely cheesy Creature Feature, turns out to be a lot more. Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) suffers a tragic accident, leading to her closest friends planning a trip for her back in the States one year later. First off the scenery is gorgeous and is only heightened by tremendous cinematography. Once the group of women are at their destination, the place takes on a character of it's own. That is one of my absolute favorite things about this Horror Film. Long before the guts and splatter show up, the cave itself is a villain fighting against the group as they explore to find their way out. The cinematography also has to be commended here as there are very little lighting opportunities but somehow Sam McCurdy makes it work. There's too much I love about this film to name here. Mostly the amazing choice in scenery, the strong female characters (and their mostly logical decisions), great acting all around, great pacing, the list goes on. Don't let this sleeper hit get by you!
28. Trick R' Treat (2009):
At one point in this time this film became part of the lore it was immitating. Various problems with releasing the film had fans on edge as the film became something of a myth. Would it be released theatrically or not? Hell, there was even a time the full production book for the film was released to bookstores with no film to support it. So I tip my hat to Warner Bros. for at the very least releasing this to DVD/BD, for the public to see. So after waiting what felt like an eternity for this film, did it live up to all my expectations? It definitely did. I loved the multiple story ideas, as it obviously pays homage to much of the anthologies of Horror such as "Tales From The Crypt" and "Tales From The Darkside". What really made me fall in love with the film was not only the overall dark tone (and it goes places I've yet to see other Horror films attempt) but how much of the story telling is what I remember Halloween being like as a kid. From local legends/lore, to stories passed on in the school yard, to frightening stories read out of books like Alvin Schwartz' "Scary Stories" series. The stories and themes are dreadfully dark, but there is still that playful nature about them. I was afraid after hearing all the positive hype about the film I'd be let down after seeing it, but I'm glad to happily add this film to my yearly Halloween viewing.
29. Toolbox Murders (2003):
Though extremely uneven, Tope Hooper's remake of the 78' original manages to be a barely decent run in the Slasher genre. About 98% of the cast are cardboard cut-outs waiting to be disposed of by our mysterious killer. Among the forgettable cast, I found that both Angela Bettis and Brent Roam (who play Newlyweds Nell and Steven) were solid in their roles. They are both interesting enough to make this a small notch above a train wreck. Another thing the film has going for it is it's atmosphere. I cannot fault Hooper on creating a great atmosphere with the old rotting walls of an apartment building going through major renovations. Other than that the film drags itself around for the first half of it's run time. Luckily the second half of the film is a little more entertaining. Sadly, the film was trimmed of most of it's juicy bits (gore) to secure an "R" rating. These scenes are included in the DVD's "Deleted Scenes". Adding the missing gore back into the film wouldn't make it better, but definitely more fun.
30. Paranormal Activity (2009):
I have to give Director Oren Peli credit. I had come to the point that I thought Horror Films were unable to generate buzz in today's film market, but here we are with his ghostly tale spreading through word of mouth. The story is simple. Katie and Micah are experiencing some sort of Paranormal phenomena at their home. Slowly but surely the haunting becomes more and more extreme, which tests the limits of their relationship as well as themselves. Does the the film deliver on what it promises? If what it promised was an extremely creepy atmosphere and solid jump scares, then yes. Acting is pretty amateur (and laughable) at some points, but Katie Featherston is fantastic in her role. Micah, not so much. The film is your typical "Haunted House" fare but with the slight twist on how it is filmed. I find that the Cinematography actually makes this film a little more interesting and unnerving. The POV camera that is placed in the couple's bedroom (and carried around) puts you in the moment and is at times a little too close for comfort. This takes all the typical scares and amplifies them 10 times. Again, the film doesn't do anything particularly new (as opposed to combining good ideas) but it's a solid flick and a hell of a good time.
31. Sick Nurses (2007):
Who knew a film with cutesy Nurses, angry spirits and lots of blood could be so boring. Well, that's what this Thai Horror film is a whole lot of. Plot is rather thin in this one. A Thai doctor and his group of well-trusted Nurses are making money off of dead bodies at the hospital. Step in random nurse who threatens to reveal their secret and you have the basis of the film. The film is ridiculously boring for more than it's first half, until it decides to bring in the splatter during it's second half. There are some interesting visuals in this film as well as some hilarious death scenes (baby fetuses'!). That's pretty much where the fun ends. The film runs like a Soft-core Porn film with it's actors running around, being random and waiting around to be offed. Other than the blood-letting, the only other thing I can commend is the ending. I didn't see it coming and it was actually kind of neat (in an odd sort of way). Someone get out a memo to Asia.....enough with the long-haired ghosts already!
32. Shaun Of The Dead (2004):
I don't even need to do a write up for this film. It's brilliant. One of many reasons this film works is because it appeals to a broad audience. It's perfect mix of Horror, Romance, Drama and Comedy is often imitated but never topped. My girlfriend and I have seen this film in theaters and at home more times than we care to count. We've never grown tired of it. If you haven't seen this film, I'm wondering who you are and what planet you currently reside on. "We're coming to get you Barbara!"
33. Diary Of The Dead (2007):
It's hard for me to judge Romero's new work because of the love I have for so much of his previous films. All Horror Fans hold Romero's work in a special place in their heart and every fan has their favorite film. How does this film stack up to his older work or even the film before it ("Land Of The Dead")? Whereas "Land Of The Dead" served as a mostly bigger budget Action/Horror/Zombie film, "Diary Of The Dead" brings Romero back to his Indie film making. The film is obviously on a smaller budget than his previous film but doesn't mostly suffer because of it. We still have solid looking Zombies, great looking gore (though uneven at times) and a great opening sequence. Where the film does suffer is everywhere else. After my second viewing of this film, I got accustomed to the POV/Hand-Held Cinematography style and actually thought it worked for the story. Unfortunately the Social Commentary and message that Romero puts in his films is muddled here. Though I can see where he was trying to go with it (Friendster, Myspace, Twitter, YouTube obsessions), it never really hits a home run like his older films. The message is a little forced and is overtly muddled because of the so-so cast of characters. Which is another problem with "Diary Of The Dead". Outside of maybe 1 or 2 characters (Samuel!), the cast is forgettable and unlikable. To even remotely care about a "Diary Of Cruelty" (as Professor Maxwell kindly puts it) we have to be invested in the characters. Why are we watching? Why do we care? Though the answer could lie in Romero's Social Commentary, it never gets there because the survivors are never worth a heartbeat. Though not as horrible as some critics panned it, the word to sum up this entry in the Dead series, is disappointing.
34. Day Of The Dead (1985):
I'll be completely honest. This film was one of my favorite Horror rentals on VHS when I was growing up. Fortunately (for me), it holds up rather well in some spots but not so well in others. My favorite parts of the films still shine. Tom Savini's make-up and gore effects are top notch here. Limbs are hacked off and cauterized, faces are torn to shreds, guts spill everywhere, there is enough here to satisfy the most salivating gore hound. I've always enjoyed the extremely campy nature of the film, whether or not that was the original intention. Characters in the film aren't necessarily boring, but they either fall into two categories. They are either on the extreme side of things, yelling and throwing random tantrums or they are just in the middle of the road (Vanilla Ice Cream if you want to say). Weak points are definitely plot and pacing. Though I would guess there isn't much to pull with the plot, with the Zombie Epidemic far into it's stages, but there just seems to be so much missing here. The idea to domesticate Zombies is a fun idea, but the execution here is extremely silly and sometimes laughable. Pacing is solid at some points (especially the final act) but usually crawls through it's scenes. At times it just feels like it's running too long. Though it doesn't compete well against it's previous brothers and sisters (Night and Dawn), "Day Of The Dead" is still a ridiculously campy, gory and fun time for the patient viewer.
35. Dawn Of The Dead (1978):
Yet another Horror Classic that needs no write-up or introduction. Unlike his later films, Dawn's message is clear and concise. The cast is great and Romero gives us essentially four survivors that are all pretty likable (Peter, Roger, Flyboy and Fran). Minus the Blue-Tinted Zombies, FX work is solid and I never get tired seeing all the goopy stuff (especially during the final act). Extremely fun film, great characters, great gore, and a fantastic plot. It's seriously 2 hours that zips by and when it's done, you'll want to revisit as soon as possible.
36. Deadly Friend (1986):
For a film that starts off completely too cute for it's own good, Wes Craven's film surprisingly redeems itself by the end of the film. Overall the film is an interesting take on the Frankenstein mythos, with parts of Short Circuit, an 80's/90's After-School Special and a standard Slasher film thrown into the mix. Wes' NOES
fingerprints are all over some of the sequences in the film but never does the film suffer from it. Characters are completely forgettable minus two of the lead characters (Paul and Sam). Death scenes are ridiculously fun (Basketball anyone?) and maybe one of the reasons (if the only reason) why one would watch this film. Craven's film is sort of middle of the road for me. There are many scenes which are a ton of fun (on their own), but none of the parts completely gel as a whole. Also I have to mention that the ending is completely random, lame and unnecessary.
37. Dawn Of The Dead (2004):
There is no reason why Zack Synder's film should work, "re-imagining" or not. What it ends up being is an extremely fun and fast-paced Zombie film. Let's get this out of the way first. There are absolutely no similarities from Romero's original film and Zack Snyder's film, other than the title. Romero's Zombies are slow, Synder's run and change immediately after bitten. Romero's laced Social Commentary in his film, Snyder's is nowhere to be found. Romero's film featured the mall as a character as our characters lived, breathed and eventually became obsessed with it. In Snyder's film the mall is a sanctuary, a rest stop in between places in the film, which is a disappointment but works for the plot of the film. Romero's film also had a limited number of main characters, most of which were fleshed out nicely. Snyder has some great characters here (Anna, Kenneth, Michael, CJ) but the rest are disposable and pretty much Zombie fodder if you ask me. So why does Snyder's film eventually work for me? As I mentioned a handful of solid characters. I enjoyed following Anna (Sarah Polley), Kenneth (Ving Rhames), Michael (Jake Weber) and eventually CJ (Michael Kelly). All characters were more than Zombie food and were always engaging. Another thing I appreciated were some of the brilliant scenes in the film. I thought the scenes with Andy (the Gun Shop Owner) were fantastic (including the "Celebrity Shooting Gallery") and ended up being downright hilarious. The level of blood and gore was quite right for a Zombie film and loved literally seeing brain matter flying everywhere. Snyder did not hold back which I appreciated. I also enjoyed the fast pacing of the film, which worked not only for the plot but the speed of our Zombies. Having a grueling pace with fast Zombies pop up here and there would just feel a little odd (maybe jarring). Also maybe it's just me, but I felt that there was definitely a good amount of focus. We have the film being split into 3 parts. The Infection, the time spent in the Mall and eventually the finale. I liked that our characters were actually working towards something when there was absolutely no hope. Also it's not without saying the opening scene in this film is quite brilliant. Way to not waste time and hit the ground running right? My only gripes with this film are Mekhi Phifer and Inna Korobkina's characters, Andre and Luda. When they were on screen they were doing absolutely nothing, or nothing that another actor couldn't just be cut-and-pasted to doing. Let's be honest they would be the most forgettable characters in the film save for the final scene with their characters, which I also hated. Funny on paper, extremely stupid on screen. Either way, anyone who hasn't seen this, get past the title of the film, think of it as it's own film and enjoy!