Warnings: This review has been marked adult because of the amount of grue in the screen caps - not 70's era grue either - this stuff is really well done, by which I mean nauseating. If you have a special sensitivity to guts, you may want to not click the link.
Also - review is cap laden, and ergo dial ups may want to avoid clicking the link.
Spoilers, naturally, apply. I know I sometimes forget to include that, but it's always so.
Let's see - anything else... I don't think so, click away with your bad self.
Scene 31: In the dark caverns, Sarah and Radio Guy are running around with only their hardhat lamps to guide them. The zombies close in behind them, moaning. Sarah discovers there has been a rockslide that has cut off their further retreat in the passage they've been following.
Sarah gets startled by a hand bursting up through the rockslide - a minor killed and buried for who knows how long? Or a zombie that was caught in it to begin with, probably. Anyway, she back into another zombie's waiting arms. Radio Guy can't help as he's also been grabbed.
Both are able to keep from being bitten long enough to deal with the zombie attack, but they are still wholly outnumbered. After another grab at Sarah, they make their escape down a side passage.
Scene 32: Back with Rhodes, he tries to kick Background Guy awake, leaving an opening for Pilot to rush and tackle him. He double-fists Rhodes into unconsciousness (he has quite the punching power). He grabs Rhodes' pistols from their holster and contemplates shooting him as he lies unconscious, but can't bring himself to do it.
Scene 33: At the elevator, Little Shit and Asshole discover that the control box on their end for the elevator has been damaged trapping them underground. Little Shit freaks out.
Scene 34: Back in the cavern with Rhodes, he wakes up about the same time as Background Guy holding his face. Pilot is gone. They discover that they've been left weaponless.
Scene 35: In the rear of the corral, Pilot is running and looking for Sarah and Radio Guy. Their yelling to one another calls more zombies to their positions. Pilot has the army guns, but Sarah and Radio only have a shovel and a hunk of wood. Sarah insists they keep moving.
Scene 36: Outside, Miguel lets the effing zombies in through the gate to the compound! He runs back to the elevator (asshole!). As the zombies pursue him, he says a prayer, puts his dogtags in his mouth and waits until they start biting him, and then pushes the elevator button to let them into the bunker below....
Rhodes and now-black-eye Background Guy join Asshole and Little Shit at the elevator in a case of cosmic-bad-timing.
Above, Miguel dies rather horribly, eaten alive as the elevator is sent on its way downward.
Commentary: Oh, and check out the zombie playing with his nipple (above)! You go zombie-horndog!
Rhodes is the first to respond, getting the hell out of dodge while his compatriots spend a little too long watching the elevator de zombie hell coming down. The others finally make a run for it, too.
Commentary: And, I ask you to notice the zombie bride -- who the hell gets married in full regalia during a zombie apocalypse?!
Rhodes takes off in a cart, leaving his men to fend for themselves (and yes - it's a golf cart so you could actually run faster making this dumb). Anyway, the guys stop long enough to yell after Rhodes in outraged betrayal, instead of say running! Oh, and how's about closing and locking the door behind you - that might buy some time.
Scene 37: In the meanwhile, Pilot has left them really screwed, as he left the entryway to the zombie pen opened.
Commentary: One can only assume he did this deliberately, leaving black-eye Background Guy and Rhodes to be eaten, which is pretty damned despicable for him being one of our heroes....
Rhodes makes it through them and into the complex proper, where he does close and lock the damned door. He takes a moment to gather his wits, before taking off for somewhere.
Scene 38: Elsewhere, Bub is wandering the complex where he finds Dr. Logan's bullet riddled body. He has a very human-ish looking grin of pleasure to see the Doctor and lifts his chain to show him that it's broken. When the Doc doesn't respond, he figures out that he's dead. Instead of immediately sitting down to eat, which we'd understand, he shows very human-ish sorrow and rage.
Commentary: I can't say enough about Howard Sherman's acting as Bub, the Learning Zombie. It's easy to see why he is so popular with his very real character arc and his ability to get across that he's growing (even though I don't like the whole idea - I'm far more comfortable with my zombies rock-stupid) with any dialog except keening and grunting.
Scene 39: Zombies flood the area that Rhodes passed through. Black-Eye Background Guy scrambles over some pallets in an attempt to reach the door to the complex, but is grabbed. He doesn't get away.
Commentary: This is another exceptional special effects scene as zombies tear him apart, at the same time as another jambs its fingers into his eyes and yanks his head off his shoulders. His screaming gets higher pitched as the vocal chords are stretched and his mouth keeps reflexively moving after its separation. It's hideous. It's also pretty impressive.
Scene 40: Elsewhere in the cavern system, Little Shit has run in the general area of Pilot and Radio's trailer where he sees Fisher being eaten. He wastes time and bullets. Unfortunately for him, he's also cut off from any means of escape - except to climb which he doesn't think of ... I mean, I'm sure that in the end he's dead, but at least if he went up the shelving units of crates, he'd be able to think and just maybe come up with something... or not.
And, he keeps wasting bullets by not shooting the zombies in the head, until he gets dragged down laughing maniacally that turns into screaming. He takes an inordinate amount of time to die.
Scene 41: Asshole has also made it to the door into the complex proper. He turns to waste ammo on the zombies closing in on him. Why do they insist on body shots?!
He finds the door locked. Not getting a response to his pounding and hollering, he takes his gun and shoots through the door, breaking the knob for access - which, of course, is also going to allow the complex to be overrun. He runs through empty hallways until he sees Bub exit a room, holding a pistol.
As we know, Bub does remember how to shoot a gun. Asshole dives into another room, as his clip is empty because he wasted his ammo. Bub takes a shot at him, but misses. Bub wanders down the hallway and past the door. It has a window with the shade drawn so Asshole can see a shadow outline of his head. He's managed to get a clip into his pistol and lines up Bub's head. Alas for him, he isn't alone. Bub is saved from a head shot by more zombies.
He gets bitten in the throat, but throws off the zombie. More come pouring through the door though. He takes a few shots (this time, hitting the head, even!) but can see his position is hopeless. He swallows his gun....
Scene 42: Back in the caverns, Sarah and Radio Guy are cut off by more zombies. At that moment though, Pilot has found them and he starts shooting the zombies barring their way - in the head. He also passes out Rhodes' and Black-Eye Background Guy's guns to the other two. They locate a ladder leading to the surface and start up. There is a last minute scare as Pilot gets grabbed by a zombie as he's on the ladder and finds his pistol is out. Thankfully for him, Radio Guy is a decent shot and is there in the clutch.
Scene 43: In the meantime, Rhodes is the only one left and he's currently refreshing his ammo stock for his semi-auto. He and Bub run into each other. Unfortunately for Rhodes, he hadn't loaded his clip before leaving the ammo room. He has to retreat from Bub's pistol wielding.
Bub manages to hit his retreating back of the shoulder as Rhodes takes off for another door at the end of the hallway. Bub pursues him. Worse for him, is that when he was hit, he lost his hold on the cartridges for his gun. And, Bub is far too close to go back for them now.
Rhodes gets hit again in the back, yelling at Bub the whole time. He manages to make it to a door that isn't locked, but when he opens it, an army of zombies are waiting for him. He turns away in a panic, but Bub is waiting for him at the other end of the hallway. Bub shoots him again and he falls back into the waiting zombie's ravenous hands - screaming at them to choke on him as they rip him in half.
Bub salutes him (I'm not sure whether to laugh, or to think that Bub was a douchebag before he died).
Commentary: Rhodes' yelling at the zombies who take off with his legs to choke on them is a fun, gross moment, but I just don't buy that he wouldn't be in immediately heavy shock and be dead a very short time later... his guts are going all over. I also don't think I take as much pleasure in this death as Romero wants me to. The way that Rhodes continues fighting to drag breath into himself as he's being torn up is just too unpleasant to me to enjoy at the horror movie fan level - plus the grue isn't really my cup of tea despite my love for the original Dead trilogy.
Anyway, good-bye Rhodes - you would have lived longer along with your men if you weren't such a dickweed....
Scene 44: We get the usual montage of zombies munching guts, fighting over intestines, etc.
Notable, Bub doesn't partake in any of this, having wandered off to leave Rhodes to his final fate.
Commentary: Yes, yes, it's gross and icky and you can move on now.... Really, this goes on way too long, with too many loving close ups of guts. I do like the zombie wails echoing in the caverns, but I wish we'd gotten one more shot of Bub finding a way to wander outside of the complex - maybe even drawing other zombies to him and passing on what he learned from Doctor Logan. It seems too important a plot point of the movie to just leave it where it does and I'd have been happier with that than with the constant gore shots.
Scene 45: Anyway, outside, the gang of escapees have come out outside a different gate of the complex and this one is locked, too. Inside, the coptor sits on its pad, but zombies are filling that area rapidly and heading in the direction of their means out of there!
They do get into the gate and make a dash-for-hell run to the coptor. Pilot yells for them to get in, while he undoes the line to the copter rotor. Sarah opens a door, but is grabbed around the head by a waiting zombie...!
Scene 46: She suddenly snaps awake. As she sits up and looks around, we see that she, Pilot and Radio Guy have made it onto a zombie-free island, where they've set down. In an echo to the opening scene, Sarah has started a calender and marks off a day. They're left with an uncertain future (hopefully there is actual fresh water on the island, they don't get hit by a hurricane, and they're able to secure food - since we see none) but this hopeful ending is far less jarring and out of place than the similar ending for Peter and Fran....
The Good: The location shooting is wonderful. This is exactly where you'd expect for a team with military contacts to be holed up in an apocalypse.
I think the momentum and mechanics of this story are the strongest in the Dead trilogy. Everything continues to move forward as tensions rise and relationships break down.
I love John the Pilot and Dr. Logan's characters. I also like Sarah more and more as things move along and I like the Radio Guy, too. Bub is interesting and a new twist on the zombie mythos (even though I don't like the idea of having to fight intelligent zombies - give 'em to me dumb where I have a hope, please).
The gore, even though it's not really my thing, is phenomenal. I'm just so impressed with what they accomplished.
The utter feeling of desolation and hopeless desperation is perfectly captured by the location shooting (kudos, again) and the unrelenting moroseness of the film.
I'm also greatful to Anchor Bay Entertainment for the Divimax edition of this film. Except for some minor problems that crop up (the shot of our survivors running for the chopper has some weird artifacting along the skyline in the shot), the film is beautiful and it comes with loads of extras that I always appreciate, including two full length commentaries.
As mentioned, our heroes' successful escape works much better here than in "Dawn of the Dead" and feels more earned, rather than giving cheats to the protaganists.
The Bad: George's problem with the military is very plain, when you combine their representation here with The Crazies. He tends to take it too far by making every guy in military greens into a cartoon-ish bad guy. The constant shouting of obsenities and insults comes from the army guys and there isn't a single one of them that is remotely sympathetic.
The ending grue montage was too much, and it ensures that Bub suddenly disappears from the story with no resolution about what happened to him. One can only conclude that he's trapped down there with the rest of the more mindless zombies, but that is unsatisfying from a story telling perspective.
I also don't like the protracted deaths given to two of our army guys - it feels, after how they were represented throughout the film, as just mean spirited toward the uniform.
Other Thoughts: I'll be the first one to agree that this is the superior film over "Dawn of the Dead", both technically and story wise. I'll even say that the more times I see it, the more impressed I am by it and the more that I like it. I still prefer "Dawn...." because the characters there are so much more likeable and relatable than they are here. Even Sarah, our main viewpoint character, is hard to warm up to in the beginning through probably the first 50% of the movie, at least. Whereas in "Dawn...." Peter, Fran, Roger and even Stephen (who was slightly prickly at first toward Peter) are immediately people you wouldn't mind surviving with - I'd be hard pressed to say the same about any of these people until toward the end, except maybe John, the Pilot.
The Score: I thought this one would be about 4 when I sat down to go through it scene by scene, but I think I underestimated just how good it is because of the pricks-in-uniform cliche and the constant grey of the surroundings. I actually like this almost, but not quite as much as "Dawn of the Dead".
If only there wasn't so much implicit military bashing going on - 4.50 out of 5.