Blu-ray/DVD Review: DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINE (2018)

It would seem every few years either a remake or an “of the dead” movie comes out to try and associate itself with the late, great George A. Romero. He was the grandfather of the entire zombie genre and people use his legacy often to get their zombie movie recognized. Unfortunately, such is the case with DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINES.

I really enjoy the original Day of the Dead. It was gory, snarky, hopeless and so very 80’s. The zombie genre is one of my absolute favorites. Even though I had heard negative reviews of this movie, I went in with an open mind.

DAY OF THE DEAD: BLOODLINES was directed by Hector Hernandez Vicens and stars Sophie Skelton as Zoe, Jonathon Schaech as Max, Marcus Vonco as Baca, and Jeff Gum as Miguel.

The biggest issue I have with this movie is how the ENTIRE thing is centered on a sexual predator. I’m serious; the whole movie is driven entirely off of a man obsessed with a woman, even after infection. And it gets a little irritating. The original was focused on a mad scientist deemed a “Dr. Frankenstein” who gathers the undead to try and understand the virus and tame the undead for domestication. He finds one he names “Bub” who is smarter and more responsive than the rest. In the end he is less violent and intensely loyal to the doctor, who may not be as sane as he portrays.

In this movie, the lead woman, Zoe, is a medical student who has a stalker named Max that comes in weekly to donate blood and carves her name in his arm. After he attempts to rape her, he is bitten and the zombie apocalypse begins. Five years later, she’s the doctor and researcher in a military bunker/refugee camp. When she needs antibiotics for a patient, she heads back to her old stomping grounds and finds none other than her old stalker who hitches a ride under the car back to the base and wreaks havoc just to get to her.

Schaech’s zombie and acting is truly good, portraying a predator both alive and undead and making his performance very unsettling. The flow of this movie is pretty choppy and the explanation of the virus makes no sense. Max is dead but alive? Aside from that, a LOT of people die in this movie and no one really seems to care. “AHH my husband is dead, but that’s ok.” “Where’s my mom, I can’t find her. OH WELL!” The lack of concern by the remaining actors is infuriating.

Gum’s Miguel, the pain in the ass military base leader, succeeds as the uber-macho boss-man that does more harm than good, and Vonco as Zoe’s love interest is…alright. The same can be said of Skelton’s Zoe. She was just alright. Lori Cardille as Sarah in the original was a hard ass, tough and took no shit but Zoe is just there. She fights but she doesn’t have the raw strength of Sarah.

And the ending left me staring at the screen and glaring for a good five minutes after the credits ended. Zombie movies aren’t meant to end well, not really. Yes, the original ended on a beach but they paid a heavy price and acted like they gave a shit when people were dying. This movie ends so sugary sweet that it was unrealistic, even among a fictional zombie apocalypse.

I wanted this movie to be good, even moderately good, but it wasn’t. The gore was repetitive, the story focused more on a sexual offender than the zombies and, aside from Schaech, the acting was mediocre at best. If Vicans was trying to take a page from Romero’s book and use zombies to act as social commentary, and in this case comment on rape culture, I understand that. But if you want to make a big social impact with your movie, it has to have stronger bones.

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