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Film / Day of the Dead (2008)

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The 2008 remake of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead (1985) starring Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon, and Ving Rhames.

The movie opens with a group of teenagers who are engaging in sexual activities in a disused bunker. Trevor's girlfriend wants to leave and so with Trevor being the transportation they all leave and find that the military has blocked off the town and there are a bunch of sick people in town. At the same time Private Bud and Corporal Cross go to visit Cross's mother who has become sick (Cross is Trevor's sister). Trevor and his girlfriend and the two privates end up taking their mother to the local hospital. At the hospital suddenly all the infected take a turn for the worse and turn into zombies with super human strength and speed, their mother as well. Trevor and girlfriend rush over to a local radio station while Bud and Cross get stuck in a cupboard, after a quick Air-Vent Passageway escape they get out, rescue the teenagers and head over the bunker at the start of the film. Bud managed to get bit but doesn't turn against other humans. At the bunker they find that the zombie attack all part of a government study of viruses. They managed to burn all the zombies in the bunker that have followed them and are last seen driving off into the distance.

Day of the Dead provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Downplayed with Rhodes. He's not a villain as a human, but he does become one of the zombies instead.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Dr. Logan. He's an even worse mad scientist in this movie (although this is downplayed in that he was not much better in the original movie, since in the source material he was a Well-Intentioned Extremist slowly going insane.)
  • After the End: It's implied that the outbreak becomes world-wide in the end.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Averted. Not only do the zombies figure out this escape route immediately and destroy the vent from below, but one manages to follow them into it.
  • Anthropic Principle: The remake illustrates an example common to many zombie films. It is explained that the zombie virus can be transmitted by air, in addition to being bitten by a zombie. When one character asks why all the main characters are uninfected, the scientist explains that "some people are just immune to the airborne aspect." Although it may seem like an incredible and unexpected coincidence, they would necessarily have to be immune to be main characters.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The survivors find a scientist's video log in an underground medical facility, which shows him having a psychotic episode while apparently talking to a zombie.
  • Artistic License: When Salazar complains "What's the matter? You see a black man with a pointed stick and it automatically gotta be a spear?" A pointed stick is basically what a spear is. Harpoons, javelins, lances, tridents—all types of spears.
  • Artistic License – Military: The film's depiction of the US military is very inaccurate and contains many errors:
    • For starters, the soldiers start off wearing old-style battle dress uniformsnote  while deployed on the field, when they really should have the bare minimum of an assigned weapon, a load bearing vest, and a kevlar helmet. On top of that, they're wearing the old style uniforms in 2008, which were phased out around 2005, so they should've been wearing the modern ACU's (the digital camo ones).
    • Bub doesn't have a weapon because he's a communications soldier. The US Army requires that all soldiers, regardless of rank, have some kind of weapon for defensive purposes.
    • Cross doesn't have her starting pistol loaded, which is not allowed if a solider is deployed on the field for the same reason as Bub directly above.
    • Only Commissioned Officers (lieutenant, captain, major, etc) are addressed as sir or ma'am. Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) such as Cpl. Cross should've simply been called "Corporal".
  • Big Bad: Dr. Logan, who in this movie is a generic corrupt scientist villain.
  • Bullying a Dragon: As soon as the survivors figure out Zombie!Bud isn't aggressive to humans, Salazar starts slapping him around gleefully. Nothing bad comes of it, but c'mon, Too Dumb to Live.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Bud tells a love interest that he is a vegetarian to impress her. Later on, after he is bitten and turned into a zombie he doesn't eat people, providing a justification for his being a heroic zombie.
  • Deus ex Machina: Similar to the original, though in the remake Bud had not been shown to remember anything beyond following orders and his love of Sarah and he only manages to distract the zombie long enough for her to escape anyways, rather than killing it, and is torn to shreds soon after.
  • Flesh-Eating Zombie: The zombies will eat you alive — unless they were vegetarian when they were alive, in which case they're not so harmful if you don't piss them off.
  • Improvised Weapon: A few here and there, such as a crutch with a knife taped to the end of it, as a pseudo-spear.
  • It Can Think: The zombies in this film have a fair amount of brainpower, ranging from trying to get at victims in the the vents by grabbing a broom to bust them open, to one realising how to get over an open air vent while crawling through the vents.
    • An early indicator of their impressive intelligence was when Dr. Logan was discussing with Sarah over the conditions of some mauled bodies they found. Sarah expresses doubt that it was an animal since their attacker had enough clarity of mind to hide them in a closet. note 
  • In Name Only: Hoo boy... The creators basically took a supremely generic, Uwe Boll or Syfy original movie quality zombie flick and slapped on the "Day of the Dead" title and a few character names. This movie has literally NOTHING to do with the original in terms of plot, characters, themes, competence, scariness, etc., and at times seems to actively try to stray as far from the original as possible.
  • Jump Scare: Used ad nauseum, prominently a screamer-esque appearance of a zombie right before the credits roll.
  • Never Trust a Title: Despite being called "Day of the Dead," most of the film takes place at night.
  • No FEMA Response: The Army cordons off the town in the remake.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The remake takes this to the extreme. Not only are the zombies fast (very fast!) and strong enough to smash through display windows by running, they also have the ability to leap as high as a first floor window, and crawl across ceilings. The zombies develop grayed eyes and half the flesh on their heads melts into blemishes when they turn. The good news is, only zombies who ate meat when alive are dangerous (and those ones will attack their former loved ones without hesitation). Formerly-vegetarian zombies are docile enough and might even remember having a crush on you...
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Ving Rhames was one of the only survivors of the Dawn of the Dead remake. Though not the same character, he appears in this movie and is killed very quickly.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The zombies don't quite resemble zombies too much. Not only are they living, breathing humans, they are also caused by a virus that was created by scientists as a bio-weapon. The zombies, unlike most depictions, are fast, but they can also jump high and far, and they can also crawl on vertical surfaces. All in all, it's safe to say that these are not zombies. In fact, they more closely resemble vampires of all things.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The core rag-tag band of survivors consists of two females and four males.
  • The Virus: The Wildfire virus which creates the Flesh-Eating Zombies described under Our Zombies Are Different is apparently airborne, causing victims to at first develop flu-like symptoms, then zone out before turning, although bites can also infect people who the airborne strain doesn't get to. Fortunately, you're only a mortal threat to your loved ones if you ate meat — if you're a vegetarian, not only will you make a docile zombie, but you'll remember people you had a crush on (or at least, you'll remember having a crush on them) and even try and defend them from other zombies.
  • Wall Crawl: Some of the zombies can do this with rapid, insect-like motion when it doesn't interfere with the plot.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: In the remake, even the slightest contact with fire causes the zombies to instantly disintegrate.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: In the remake, zombies that were vegetarians in life not only do not eat people, but are completely harmless. This leads to a debate on whether or not the remaining humans should kill them anyway because, well, they're zombies.
    • That said, the "vegetarian" excuse isn't entirely confirmed.
  • Zombie Infectee: A rare case in the remake where one is helpful. The new guy is hot for Meni Suvari, his corporal. After he turns, he actually saves her from the lead zombie.
  • Zombie Puke Attack: One remake cover depicts a zombie copiously vomiting on something off-camera.