Infected by the likes of Zombie Diaries and Zombie Diaries 2, this British riff on Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is not so much about zombies but about how humanity turns on itself during a crisis. Originally screened in 2012, Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection takes place in the English countryside. The movie opens playing off the characters of Ben and Barbara, but it soon eschews the homage and goes into its own distinct direction. Although some may find the philosophical elements of the movie something worth pondering, most viewers will not be impressed by the film, particularly its pace, actors, or storyline.
Directed by James Plumb (Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming), Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection starts by following Ben (Sule Rimi), who is looking for his sister Barbara as the zombie epidemic begins to break out. The storyline during the opening is quite brisk and intense, but Ben is quickly killed off and the storyline abandoned, replaced with the tale of a family holed up in their cottage.
But the zombies are not really a problem for the family. These are Romero zombies, who in this movie move even slower and are much fewer in number. After the father kills Ben by shooting him through the front door’s mail slit, the film slows way, way down, focusing on the dementia of the family itself. The father is a gross man who is having an incestuous relationship with his youngest daughter. The daughter is also having an affair with her older sister’s husband, who also lives in the house. And there’s a young kid who may be into drugs and a mom who is deeply bitter and close to a mental breakdown.
Adding to the histrionics is the threat from outside. No, it’s not zombies! Instead, the film focuses on gangs of teenage hooligans (a real problem in the United Kingdom) who have elected to take advantage of the zombie apocalypse to rape and pillage their neighborhoods. It is on such gang that descends upon the father when he attempts to get help for his family by getting into the family car and driving into town.
The sequence in which the father faces off against the hooligans is the crux of the problem with this movie. Rather than simply run over the idiots who menacingly try to stop his vehicle with their bodies (!), the father stops the car and lets the idiots approach the car and rip him out of the seat! For his stupidity, dad is repeatedly run over by the hooligans. There are many such moments in the movie, all of which make for a very exasperating experience.
The hooligans somehow find the man’s home and lay siege to it. The family inside elects to fight it out, but the combination of hooligans and zombies proves to be too much, with the inevitable results. However, the movie is not over, as the filmmakers remember that this movie should pay homage to Romero. So, the film’s coda has several military dudes come to the “rescue” of the survivors. The closing sequence is meant to be ironic but instead comes out contrived, forced, and outright stupid.
There’s very little to recommend Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection. The movie’s handheld, shaky camerawork adds little more than annoyance to the movie, the script’s jumps in logic make for a frustrating experience, the acting is terrible (amateur, with many of the actors simply not caring about how they deliver their dialogue), and the pace is so slow that many may tune out a quarter into the film. The principal problem with the movie is the slow pace, which is made even worse by the storyline. The movie’s indecision about being either a zombie movie or a slasher movie will bug fans of both genres, as the mix simply does not work. One threat is more than enough for a horror film—adding superfluous threats and trying to make them ironic only works if the threats are clearly defined and somewhat logical.
The DVD for Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection comes with cast and crew commentary, and a trailer gallery. There are optional English and Spanish subtitles.