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Being a child of the 80's I grew up on horror, everything from Freddy to Pinhead (and of course my favorite, Jason). I remember being 7 years old and watching Dawn of the Dead, it freaked me out, I had nightmares for weeks, even seeing it when I was 25 it still freaked me out. After that I became a zombie freak, Night of the living dead, Dawn of the dead, Day of the dead, Return of the living dead and more recently the 28 films became some of my favorites. Seeing the trailer for this film I thought it looked great, I knew it was a low budget film but this didn't bother me, seeing that some of my favorite films are low budget "b" films. When I saw it in the store I grabbed it and payed $14 (even though i usually buy used films much cheaper) for it seeing that I was already interested in the film and it was attractively packaged. That night I put it in kicked back with a beer and anticipated some awesome zombie fun. Boy was I wrong, this film was simply horrible, the acting was poor the story was non-existent and the quality was straight garbage, seemingly an attempt at a blairwitch type video camera affect and a total copy of the concept off diary of the dead (which wasn't great but is eons better than this), but with no plot. This film is unworthy of even existing, I own over 600 films and and love everything from evil dead to good fellas, night of the comet to American beauty and I can honestly tell you that i feel like destroying this film because it is a disgrace to my collection, avoid it at all cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In this age of the zombie renaissance (which seems to be giving way to
a revitalized interest in vampires, thanks to TWILIGHT...yawn), we seem
to be surrounded by all things undead. No mystery there: thanks to the
spread of information on the internet in the late 90s and, soon after,
the film 28 DAYS LATER, common moviegoers finally caught on that there
was more to horror than lame slasher flicks featuring an endless
succession of bemasked murderers.
They rediscovered the works of Romero and others, and found that there was something about the zombie sub-genre that spoke to our deepest nightmares: a fear of society, its inhabitants, and its collapse. This seemed especially relevant in the post-9/11 era. Watch news coverage of the zombie crisis in George Romero's NIGHT and DAWN and try not to think about that terrifying, fateful day in September, 2001.
What remains a mystery, however, is that almost no one --during the Romero heyday of zombies or their 21st Century 'renaissance'-- got it right. In this reviewer's opinion, there are about seven, yes, SEVEN films that have truly realized the full potential and promise of the undead theme, and sadly, two of them are remakes and two are semi-satirical send-ups of the genre.
So I shouldn't be too surprised in the disappointing and wasted effort that is THE ZOMBIE DIARIES. I'd heard a lot of good internet buzz about it, so I decided it was worth the three dollar rental. I knew there was a problem when I had to turn it off about halfway into the film. Was it too gory, too intense, too scary? Not in the slightest. Though I returned a day later to finish DIARIES, my opinion of the film on my first attempt hadn't changed.
What could have been an interesting premise --a zombie outbreak documented by several camera-toting groups in the English countryside--falls flat on its face before the opening credits have even finished. We're treated to an anti-climactic interview about a nasty plague sweeping Asia at the beginning of the film, which marks the only occasion I can recall that a movie loses its momentum within a few minutes of the opening titles. Even worse is the stiff, pompous cast we're forced to contend with. Not one of the cast members convincingly sells any urgency, not to mention the fact that the dead are returning to life and the country has been plunged into total chaos.
The narrative and script are seemingly aimless; we're bored quickly by the pretty scenery of the countryside, where (occasionally) non-threatening zombies show up and stumble about. DIARIES loses itself in an insular and uninteresting world -- what's going on in the cities? What about TV and Radio news reports, which in the other films (like NIGHT, DAWN) proved the most stirring and memorable moments? I understand small productions like this have budgetary constraints to consider, but the filmmakers missed an all-too important cue in not giving their boring little universe some scope. What should conjure feelings of isolation in the audience only makes us lose interest before the second act has even arrived.
The zombies themselves are shambling Romero knock-offs, and not well-done, either. The special effects used to create the monsters are professional enough, but rubber stamped with all the "ooh" and "aah" trademarks any college film student hopes to afford. "Look, the zombies have white contact lenses! How creepy!" Aside from the fact that these ghouls are among the least scary I have seen in a long while, the reactions the characters have to them are even less convincing. A group of survivors seem to have no fear confronting a cadre of marauding flesh eaters in one shot, but are ostensibly paralyzed at the appearance of a single ghoul the next. Also, though agonizingly slow, these zombies seem to have no problem sneaking up on adrenaline-pumped humans in wide open grazing fields. Go figure.
The ending of THE ZOMBIE DIARIES is a feeble attempt at throwing the audience a curve ball, and while I won't give anything away, the film's conclusion is completely tacked on, and frankly, a cheap shot that seems at once out of place and mundane.
DIARIES is just one example (in a LONG list of books, graphic novels, films, video games and other media) of why the zombie resurgence failed. Few of these works seems to have had the guts to break away from the "rules" laid out by the "...of the Dead" films, ultimately to the artistic detriment of each.
Due in part to these reasons, THE ZOMBIE DIARIES fails in originality, and succeeds in not much else. One wonders how good a zombie film this MIGHT have been.
The premise of the movie is great. After a zombie epidemic, various
video diaries are recovered. These video diaries tell the tales of
survival of 3 groups of people whose stories eventually interweave.
Sadly, the acting is terrible. The best acting is done by the zombies. The special effects and makeup appear to have been done by students venturing into their first foray into gore. The best makeup/special effect is the clouded contacts and anybody with 20 dollars and Wal-Mart nearby can pull that off. Some zombies look downright comical, almost as if they are wearing cheap Halloween costumes.
This movie has some of the comedy that has come to be expected in the genre, but it's not intentional. In one scene, a shot from about 20 yards away with a rifle takes about two seconds before the zombies head is (poorly) blown apart.
The camera work is terrible. There is no sense of a "diary" in any of the 3 scenarios. Just groups filming their goings on and there's too much of a random feeling to it. And not random in the good way. More like "Why in the world would they be filming THIS?" There should have been more asides and narrating from the cameramen. Instead of having a sense of "this is a diary that recorded their struggles for whoever may find it", you had more of a sense of "this is a bad class project done by middle school children". The dialogue is forced. Whether it was written or improvised, it smacked of trying too hard to "act", and this totally destroyed the feel of "this is real people reacting to real events".
There are about 3 scenes that could have been very powerful. One of them has been done in almost every zombie movie before and the main difference this time around was the age of the "victim". The other two scenes were more confusing than anything. There's a difference between leaving things opened for interpretation and just totally dropping the ball.
All in all, I was very disappointed. A great concept was ruined.
I had high hopes for this. The trailer shows us what appears to be a
very good movie. Tense and exciting. Upon sticking this in my DVD drive
I found that the trailer in fact appeared to show a very different
Whilst I found the idea of this movie interesting I found it very very very hard to watch all of it. I liked the idea of trying to show this genre in a more realistic light and I expected more from the Documentary segment but alas no.
Poorly scripted, poorly acted, poorly filmed. The special effects are good. But I feel most of the budget was wasted on them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Once again, much like reviews for 'The Signal', I am completely baffled
by the rave reviews this film has received. Please don't make the same
mistake I did and be drawn in by the eye-catching (and very misleading)
cover art. None of it takes place at any point in the film.
80 minute film with 'Zombies' in title features what must be all of 10 minutes screen time of zombies altogether. The rest is just mindless driving / running / and pointless, awkward dialogue.
I'm a huge zombie movie fan - but I never thought I would despise a film so much as to go out of my way to urge people NOT to watch it. 'The Zombie Diaries' proved me wrong. It is dreadful.
The film focuses on a few different groups of idiots who are scattered around the British countryside just as some kind of 'unexplained virus' hits all major cities. All groups appear to have absolutely no common sense.
This first becomes apparent when the first group of 'survivors' encounter a zombie in a farmhouse they were supposed to be staying in. Rather than fight off one zombie in a relatively secure house, they run blindly into a dark forest where they encounter even more undead.
Then, in complete darkness, in the middle of a forest where they've encountered zombies, they decide to stop and make a fire. This kind of clown-shoe logic ripples through the rest of the film.
We cut to a completely different group of survivors looking for supplies in an abandoned town. This and many more overlong scenes involving this group has absolutely no relevance to the rest of the film.
The Zombie Diaries is basically made up of scenes that defy common sense in order to try and drum up tension. Cue countless shots of people walking round darkened corridors, barns, stairways, woods etc with only the camera light guiding the way. The first time this is done it is quite suspenseful by the 5th time it happens, all suspense is lost and you are simply left watching a tactless idiot take 10 minutes to walk down a hallway and open a door.
Cut to yet another completely different group of survivors.
They've secured a farmhouse and guns, yet there are countless scenes where, in pitch darkness, everyone simply stands on the field outside the house blindly firing at zombies ambling towards them. Once they drag this out for another fifteen minutes or so, a noise is heard from inside a darkened barn (surprise, surprise), cue yet another dragged-out 'let's investigate with just the camera light to guide us' scene.
The final chapter tries to make a statement about us being the real monsters, not the zombies by then I'd grown so bored that I applauded the deaths of the remaining survivors and cursed the gods that this moment had not arrived sooner.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film this evening, and I am in shock. I am very well-known
for "liking everything". Hell, I loved the remake of War of the Worlds,
and am a complete fan of everything M. Knight Shyamalan, if that gives
you any idea.
But this film was SO bad, all I can say is: keep any and all sharp objects safely out of reach while watching this movie... because trust me, you will definitely want to slash your wrists before its painful 80 minutes are up. Honestly, the entire film should be part of the "deleted scenes" extras on the DVD!
Dreadful acting, a completely pointless story, with a thoroughly disgusting Saw/Hostel-like sub-plot, and the ever-so-popular "Blair Zombie Project" hysterical epileptic camera.
The only spoiler I will give you regarding the story is the following: in the end, the zombies all die of starvation... because there isn't one single person in the film with a brain worth eating.
This film deserves a lower rating than IMDb allows.
The thing that annoyed me about this film was the shaky camera
movements, it was tolerable at first but became a nuisance after a
while, the storyline is very confusing, it even at times felt like
there was no storyline, because the characters were never really
developed enough for me to care about any of them, they actually bugged
the living hell out of me, it also never really built up any suspense,
at least not for me, because given the fact that I didn't care for any
of the characters the film just bored me, plainly put.
I'll admit that I'm not really a fan of the zombie genre, but I have watched a few of them, and a lot of them are ten times better than this film, so for a non fan of the genre I would actually go for Romero's dead films before I'd consider seeing this again.
3 out of 10.
As I've said before I'm a cheapskate and I'll pretty much watch
anything I rent but even I couldn't endure this piece of junk.I've seen
some terrible zombie films in my years of watching horror films and
this was one of the worst of the bunch.
The film is supposedly camera footage shot by different groups that chronicle their tribulations after London is overrun by walking dead.It mostly ended up being a film that featured a lot of bad actors standing or sitting around trying to emote the horror of fighting off zombies while talking into a shaky camera,ala "Blair Witch",while not being even close to as good as "Blair Witch".
After one moist eyed snotty nosed young man likened his situation to the people in the World Trade Towers on September 11,2001 I'd had quite enough and ejected the DVD from my player as quickly as I could.
Nothing really good to say about this crap-fest....the acting as horrible,the script was lame,even if it was ad-libbed it was still bad stuff.Special effects non-existent,they mainly consisted of newspapers blowing around in the streets.The zombies were those half-ass done kind with just some pale makeup smeared and there and some blood dashed on here and there.Long camera shots of a dead spider on a counter and rain splashing in a puddle were also counted as special effects I assume.Apparently the special effects budget was shot in the opening scenes where a handful of soldiers wearing gear that looked like it was from WWII ran around for a few minutes taking cover behind objects as they moved toward some buildings as though they expected the zombies to shoot at them! Right then I knew this was gonna be a puke of a movie.
No hordes of zombies here,just a few here and there milling around,usually standing in a group waiting for their cue to fall when someone shoots a gun their way.Then the camera holder walks up and shows us the zombie laying there with a splatter pattern of brains and blood fanned out from the head all over the ground looking as though the zombie was shot up through the head from under the chin while laying there.Bleeck!At least get the basic physics right! Don't waste a second on this mess.It's unwatchable.I gave it a 1 and I really wish this website would add some negative numbers to the ratings scale.
What happened to the good old days when people shot homemade porno when they got some camera equipment instead of their own horror movie?
There were quotes on the cover saying stuff like "...the best zombie
movie ever made!". There is no way in hell anyone (drugged, insane,
undead etc), could state such at thing after seeing this "movie". Talk
about false advertisement.
I love a good horror flick and a friend of mine had rented 3 of them but we only had time to watch one. I got to choose which one. Well... That wont happen again I tell you.
3 reasons to avoid this film at all costs:
- Horrible horrible story/script. It has the same plot as every other zombie/living dead movie ever made, only devoid of all the interesting parts.
- The horrible horrible 1st person photography. Reminded me of a 10-min zombie movie me and my friend did when we were 14.
- This is not a horror movie. Its a horrible horrible movie in every possible way.
3 questions you most certainly will ask yourself after this movie:
- Why oh why?! - How the hell did this movie end up on a shelf in my video store? - Can I please have that 1 hour and 15 mins of my life back?
(note: Why does IMDb "name" a 1 rating as only "awful"? Giving this movie a 1 is therefor almost an insult to all the awful movies out there.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When you have a good script, you can rise over the limitations of a
small budget. That's not the case with this piece of junk. They could
not afford good actors, the bad make-up effects are hidden by the poor
image quality (intentionally poor image quality, but still...) and the
script does a 360 at the end, branching to a cringe inducing subplot
about a couple of serial killers that does nothing to move the
so-called script forward.
It's hard to believe that this movie is praised by some horror website when there's so much good stuff around, like the brilliant "REC".
I can't believe I wasted my time on this piece of junk !
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