Review: DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINE (2018)
There have been many attempts to sequelize and remake the films of George Romero, from CREEPSHOW 3 to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 3D to Zack Snyder’s DAWN OF THE DEAD. These have been a decidedly mixed batch with most being pretty awful, and with DAY OF THE DEAD suffering from two horrible cash-ins I wasn’t optimistic when I first heard about DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINE. However, the fact it was directed by Hèctor Hernández Vicens, the man responsible for THE CORPSE OF ANNA FRITZ, along with an effective trailer had me hopeful. Was my hope justified?
DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINE starts during the opening minutes of the zombie, (they’re referred to as “rotters” in the film), apocalypse before flashing back a few hours to reveal how med student Zoe (Sophie Skelton OUTLANDER) was almost raped by the obsessed Max (Johnathon Schaech JACKALS, MARAUDERS) before one of the first reanimated corpses takes a bite out of him. We then jump five years ahead, and she’s among the survivors at a bunker called High Rock.
With medical supplies dwindling, she convinces the camp’s leader Miguel (Jeff Gum THE VAULT) to let her take an expedition into town to look for supplies. Accompanied by Baca (Marcus Vanco, THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES) who happens to not only be her lover but Miguel’s brother, they find the needed supplies. They also find Max, who has become some kind of human/zombie hybrid and is still obsessed with Zoe. He follows them back to the bunker, but rather than having him killed, Zoe wants to use his blood for a possible vaccine. Needless to say, things do not go smoothly.
One of the big problems with DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINE is that it doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be. It begins and ends as a zombie film, but the middle, with Max stalking Zoe through the bunker, plays like an 80’s slasher film. While this is happening, the zombies outside are all but forgotten. There’s also the matter of the relationship between Zoe and Max. Not only is she put in a position where she has to defend her would-be rapist, but in one scene has to come on to him to get a blood sample. These scenes are distinctly uncomfortable, and not always in a good way.
Even the film’s effects are uneven, with some great practical gore offset by horrible CGI blood splatter. It’s almost as if the producers decided the film needed more blood in post-production. Then they added it in as cheaply as possible. The acting is ok if a bit bland with Schaech being an effectively creepy boogeyman, however, Gum fails to capture the over the top menace Joe Pilato conveyed in the original.
While certainly better than either of the other two films to bear the title, it’s nowhere near the original. It is worth a watch if you don’t expect it to measure up and can avoid comparing it to Romero’s film. Hopefully next time Vicens directs he’s allowed to write the script as well, his touch would have helped make this much better.