‘Land of the Dead’

Capitalism has destroyed the world. All that’s left are zombies, a single tower-block populated by a tiny elite, and a surrounding shanty town where the population distracts itself with barbaric entertainment.

And now the zombies are getting smarter. Learning to act together. Planning a coordinated attack.

George A Romero’s Land of the Dead (2005) is a satirical zombie action horror flick. There’s a slightly uneasy relationship between its political critique of George W Bush‘s USA versus Hollywood action movie cliche.

The film was released almost in the middle of George W Bush‘s two terms as US president. The zombie hoard is a frightening antagonist, on a par with the corrupt elite led by the baddie, Paul Kaufman. His instinct, when the city falls into collapse, is to pack a bag stuffed full with money. As if that will save him.

The title alludes to America. It suggests a political system where the people, and democracy is itself the land of the dead. It is a system that’s unable to change. Unable to see its errors.

Luckily the satirical element isn’t too heavy handed. It doesn’t get in the way of the action and humour. But, coming in 2005, Land of the Dead is overshadowed by 28 Days Later (2002) and 2004’s remake of George A Romero’s 1978 film, Dawn of the Dead.

Land of the Dead was a crowd pleasing, box office success. A fusion of political comment, action, comedy, and gore. The tell-tale sign of it’s ridiculousness though is the silly, missile-launching battle bus that looks like a pimped-up RV. (It's like something out of Damnation Alley.) The end result is a film that is fun but undistinguished, and difficult to take too seriously.

Verdict: Disappointing.