Zombie movie master George Romero's follow up to the abysmal Diary of the Dead is a funnier and more interesting outing that focuses on the lifelong feud between two men living on the (almost) paradise of Plum Island. The rivalry is further complicated by, of course, the zombie apocalypse and the arrival of a team of mercenaries headed by Sarge "Nicotine" Crockett (Alan van Spring), the only character held over from Diary. Survival features plenty of creative and cartoony zombie kills (the flare gun to the face is a favorite of mine) and an odd preoccupation with the idea of rehabilitating zombies instead of killing them. There's lots of fun stuff here – the striking image of a raven-haired zombie lady riding a horse all over the island, Van Spring's hard-boiled performance – but Survival rarely rises above campy B movie stature to become the blood-splattered social commentary it wants to be.
Zombieland, Directed by Ruben Fleischer, 2010
Zombies, zombies, and more zombies! (Can you tell I'm counting the days until The Walking Dead premieres on AMC yet?) I love Zombieland. Sure it owes almost everything to a million other zombie films and smart comedies that came before it, but it's one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen all year. The cast members -- Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin – gel perfectly, and the film hits the right tone to appeal to almost anyone despite the gore and carnage on display. I should probably buy this thing on Blu-ray before I hike up my cable bill any more from repeat On Demand orders. Needless to type, the sequel can't come soon enough.
Daybreakers, Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, 2010
The Brothers Spierig craft a dark an intriguing futuristic world where almost everyone on Earth has turned into a bloodsucker and humans live underground and on the edge of society. Unfortunately, the movie stops exploring this world in an interesting way about a third into its running time. Daybreakers starts out as a clever and stylish flick with loads of atmosphere and a subtle darkly comic bent, but it devolves into a slick but ultimately empty horror-action romp packed with great actors spouting awkward dialogue