Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated
directed by George Romero
Has any movie so seminal, so groundbreaking as Night of the Living Deadever gotten worse treatment? The film that introduced the modern zombie to the world, as well as one oozing with decades of dissertation material (civil rights/racial issues, children literally eating their parents, the war in Vietnam, just to name a few), a movie that arguably kick started the indie film movement, Night of the Living Dead was a public performance standard for years, reissued on crappy VHS and DVD copies, a staple of late-night TV, when it should have been lauded as a national treasure.
Throughout the years, however, horror fans have revered George Romero’s work and this love and reverence shows in Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated, a mixed-media love letter to the groundbreaking horror film. The opening segment with horror host Gore De Vol sets the tone, instructing viewers to watch the original first, and provides a lighthearted intro to the film. Hundreds of artists from around the world contributed to the project, animating the movie using a wide variety of media, everything from sock puppets to CGI. The different segments are mixed throughout the movie, so any one scene can feature a number of different techniques — stop-motion dolls, to woodcuts, to pen and ink, to 8-bit video game graphics. Sometimes the experiment works, although some of the dialogue-heavy scenes don’t exactly sync up with the characters’ mouth movements. Since the animation varies so much, the tone of the movie can get fractured. (While I loved the sock puppets, seeing them as the TV broadcasters attempting to explain the zombie phenomenon deflates the scene.) Likewise, as good as the different animation styles in the final scene are, they are in no way as shocking as the original documentary-style grainy footage.
Even if the project doesn’t work throughout the whole film, it remains interesting and is certainly worth a look. Would it be as interesting to someone who had never seen the original Night of the Living Dead? Probably not. But as a companion piece, it’s definitely worth checking out.