Lets be brutally honest here, 3D movies are rubbish. Up until Avatar’s release, ‘3D movie’ was a term most commonly used to describe a horror sequel that had nowhere else to turn. Freddy and Jason have both had stabs at the third dimension, and last years horror remake My Bloody Valentine took us to hell and back three times over. Probably best if we don’t mention Jaws and The Final Destination. There’s a trend starting to develop here.
If I told you that I’m not convinced by the concept of 3D, you would probably understand why, and that’s without mentioning just how ridiculous we all look in the cardboard glasses they expect us to wear. Is it too much to ask for somebody to design a pair of glasses that look as cool as Neo’s from The Matrix, rather than the bog-standard pair as modelled by Bingo from The Banana Splits? Like everybody on the face of the Earth, I went to see Avatar at the local cinema and was blown away by the future potential of 3D. Nothing could prepare me for what happened next though. Surely, nobody would be foolish enough to mess with horror classic Night Of The Living Dead? What do you mean, have I never heard of Jeff Broadstreet? Hold on tight folks, this is going to get messy...
I think we all know the story by now. Barbara (close friends call her Barb apparently) and her brother Johnny arrive late for the burial of their aunt. Johnny leaves Barbara (sorry, Barb) for dead, and with zombies on her heels. She flees the cemetery with local college student Ben. They seek refuge in a nearby farmhouse owned by the Cooper family, where the laid-back residents aren't prepared for supper, let alone a starring role in a new horror movie. There have been a few changes made for this re-imagining of the 1968 classic, the most crucial factor being that it’s been made with 3D audiences in mind. That’s right guys, time to don those Bingo shades with a bucket of popcorn and the aspirin on standby.
Talk about dead man walking. Night Of The Living Dead is a painful experience from start to finish, with or without the 3D glasses. There’s a good chance you won’t be familiar with the cast, and there’s a really good reason for that - the acting is absolutely atrocious. Horror fanatics will probably recognise the presence of Rob Zombie groupie Sid Haig, and love him or hate him, Sid’s turn as the local mortician is the only bright spark on a rainy camp Crystal Lake, but he’s rubbish too. I stand corrected. Haig is upstaged by fine support offered by one of the zombie victims. You’ll know which girl I mean, she’s the one that runs around naked for five minutes before fleeing to the safety of an abandoned vehicle. Well, I say safety, for some bizarre reason the poor girl doesn’t even bother to lock the car doors. No clothes and no common sense. DVD sales have probably just tripled.
I should also mention that in Jeff Broadsheet’s ill-advised remake, zombies retain the ability of speech. If you weren’t frightened before, you should be hiding behind your sofa right about now. Zombies that talk, why didn’t I think of that? Because it’s a stupid idea, that’s why. The 3D effects work just fine, and on occasion some of the scenes really do stand out. The problem is, Night Of The Living Dead was never going to blow you away like a sci-fi spectacle with giant explosions and high-speed dogfights. We’re talking about zombie movies here, with slow moving dead people and decaying attention spans. Watching an undead hand reach out of the screen is all well and good, once, but on the fifth occasion it becomes tiresome. By the way, did I mention that the zombie effects are rubbish as well? Word of the day I’m afraid - a kitten in a pink dress is more threatening than this.
I hope the 3D bubble doesn’t burst too soon, but until I’m presented with a film that uses the technology to enhance the experience, rather than reduce it to dull greens and greys, I’ll be sticking with tried and tested, thank you very much. The re-imagining of Night Of The Living Dead comes complete with poor direction, terrible acting and headache inducing 3D effects, making George A. Romero’s latest entry in the series look like a genre classic. Avoid at all costs, unless of course you have a soft spot for looking like Bingo the gorilla. AW