Review: (4 / 5) Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 Black & White Indie Film Directed by George Romero, starring Judith O’Dea and Duane Jones as the main actors. The film operated under a budget just over $100,000, but in the end, outperformed expectations and grossed over $30,000,000 worldwide. Its success created a cult following that to this day stands strong.
The movie begins with two siblings visiting the grave of a loved one. While at the cemetery, a man is seen walking in the distance. Unaware of the his intent, they ignore him, only to be attacked when he walks upon them—then the story beings. The female, Barbara, flees to a farmhouse where she is pursued by even more of these human-like creatures.
The rest of the movie takes place at the farm where all six actors converge. They band together—but not without conflict—to fight off the zombies. But like all horror films, they fall one-by-one. I felt the acting was weak, so after some research I discovered Romero hired a bunch of no names. That explains the pause for dramatic affect at times—Drama 101. It sort of reminded me of the Geico horror film commercials.
There were other scenes I thought Romero could have directed better. For example, when the men were trying to fill the tuck with gasoline, Ben was standing next to it with a torch. Probably not the smartest thing to do next to a highly flammable substance, so as you can imagine what happened next—BOOM!
The theory is that the creatures mutated from high levels of radiation from the Venus Probe. It takes some time before they realize to kill the zombies, they must destroy the brain. That’s when they start using tire irons to crush the skull, and a shotgun to shoot them in the head. They even go to the extent of burning them, which to be honest, I don’t recall if that was one of the successful methods. Romero also adds a little gore when the living dead begin to eat their victims in some cannibalistic style.
The director uses high ISO black and white film for a grainy affect to the video. It reminded me a little of the film Psycho. If I rated it today I give it a much lower score and it’d probably be a straight to video release, however due to its success and the impact it’s had in the zombie apocalypse, I can’t help but giving it a bump to a four out of five. Originality has to count for something.