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Film / Survival of the Dead

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Survival of the Dead (2009) is the sixth and final horror film in George A. Romero's Living Dead Series (as well as his last film in general). It follows some characters who briefly appeared in the previous film, Diary of the Dead.

The movie takes place in a desperate, nightmarish world where the dead walk the earth, relentlessly attacking the living. It is the story of Plum Island - a beautiful refuge whose isolation allows two powerful families to maintain a semblance of order in the wake of the zombie holocaust. But as the inhabitants slowly die off, the two clans become sharply divided: The O'Flynns believe that the undead must be destroyed without exception, while the Muldoons insist that afflicted loved ones be kept "alive" until a cure is found. Into this situation wander a small group of National Guard troops who have decided to strike out on their own in an effort to survive.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • All Girls Like Ponies: Jane, even as a zombie! She really likes the taste, too.
  • Beware the Living: Not only are our protagonists a bunch of people that proved themselves to be an example of this back in Diary of the Dead, but the O'Flynn/Muldoon feud screws everybody over at the climax and both sides prefer to try to kill each other than take heed of the zombies surrounding them.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Being a zombie movie, this trope is expected. Pretty Little Headshots are definitely not in effect here-at one point a point-blank rifle shot that obliterates a zombie's entire head down to the lower jaw.
  • Bury Your Gays: Averted. The sole gay character survives 'til the end.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Crockett's grenade, O'Flynn's Derringer.
  • Continuity Nod: The troopers whose story this is are the ones who stuck up the bloggers in Diary of the Dead.
  • Expy: Tomboy is reminiscent of Rocky from Romero's little-seen KNIGHTRIDERS: an out-and-proud lesbian who's as tough as (if not tougher than) her straight/male cohorts.
  • Fanservice: Tomboy masturbating out in the open. Downplayed, because it's shot very matter-of-factly rather than in an overtly sexual way.
  • Feuding Families: The O'Flynns and the Muldoons. The subject of how to deal with the zombies is just latest round. When O'Flynn makes a half-assed attempt to bury the hatchet, Muldoon shoots him in the back. O'Flynn shoots him in retaliation and the feud even survives undeath.
  • Gorn: Oh yeah, big time. Special commendations to a fire extinguisher blowing up a zombie's head, a flare gun lighting a zombie's head on fire, a zombie ripping some dude's scalp off. Oh, and the poor horse being devoured. Ugh.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Cisco, practically every other line.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: Tomboy
  • Horror Hunger: Subverted, as Seamus Muldoon aims to stem the zombies from eating humans, and have them move onto other sources of food...and it works, but not before it's too late.
  • A House Divided: More like An Island Divided. The Muldoon vs. O'Flynn shootout at the end, zombies milling about and eating people during. And in the final shot, they're still trying to shoot each other as zombies with empty pistols.
  • Hypocrite: Muldoon is preaching how the dead should be kept "living" so that they could be cured in the future, yet gladly kills any zombie that either isn't of his blood or a stranger.
  • It Can Think: As in many of Romero's films, the zombies can learn and remember. One of the zombies remembers how to start his car, although isn't too good at driving it. They also can parrot their previous existence rather well.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The soon-to-be zombie Cisco, for the hope he does not end up in hell. He asks Tomboy to do the deed, and she complies.
  • Latin Lover: Cisco seems to consider himself one.
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: The female member of the National Guard unit masturbates openly in front of her fellow soldiers because there aren't any women available.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Crockett is shot in the shoulder, with the only effect being that he grimaces, then once briefly passes out. Other than that, he keeps using the arm like normal.
  • Oral Fixation: Sgt. "Nicotine" Crockett and his cigarettes.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: To Diary of the Dead.
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: Crockett and his unit are going to the Muldoon/O'Flynn island because it's far away from shore and thus there's no zombies. This proves false because zombies can just walk through the bottom of the lake and reach the island regardless, which they do at the climax, and the Muldoons turn out to be a Zombie Advocate family. They are also Feuding Families and this also reaches its boiling point at the climax with an all-out shootout that only helps the zombies.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Crockett and his merry band of National Guard deserters, ditching their outpost and striking out on their own in the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Series Continuity Error: Crockett is a sergeant in this film, but was a colonel in the previous film. His crew are (naturally, given their bigger roles) all played by entirely different actors, and notably were all male last time.
  • Taking the Bullet: Crockett for the Kenny, despite the former claiming he'd never do such a thing earlier in the film. Minor inversion as both get hit, and the latter dies.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Janet and Jane.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Janet, trying to connect to her zombified twin sister at hand-biting range. She gets bitten for her troubles.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Tomboy as a black Butch Lesbian is a threefer.
  • Undead Child: At the start of the film.
  • The Un-Favourite: Janet thinks she is but her father says she's not.
  • Villain Protagonist: Crockett and his fellow deserters are the same group of renegade National Guardsman who robbed the leads of Diary of the Dead.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: James (Julian Richings) survives the worst of the undead horde on the island, but then the character completely disappears and is never seen again. Was he killed? Is he still alive? The world may never know.
  • Zombie Advocate: The Muldoons believe that zombism is a disease that can be cured, or at least that the walking dead can be "re-educated" not to feed on human flesh.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Naturally. And with all appropriate sub-tropes:
    • Kill It with Fire: Nicotine uses a flare to light up a zombie then uses its flaming head to light his cigarette.
    • Not Using the "Z" Word: Played straight as the slang "deadheads" becomes popular, but also subverted as people do use the word "zombie".
    • Zombie Gait: The slow kind.
    • Zombie Infectee: kept alive by the Muldoons. And in Cisco's case, complete with denial... but subverted with the sensible response.