Dear Zombie Diary, torture porn has infected the living dead genre!!!

zombie-diaries

While George Romero was busy writing a “Diary of the Dead,” another little found footage documentary style zombie movie was keeping “zombie diaries.” Different titles, but pretty much the same book – people filming their experiences as the world is overrun by the living dead. In this case, the footage is presented as vignettes of several different video diaries about various groups and their situations. However, just like Romero’s film, Zombie Diaries also comes complete with a musical score—although, no character explains its presence like the film student narrator did in Diary of the Dead.

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There are some really creepy moments in The Zombie Diaries. The camera POV and flashlight beam as the only light source works incredibly well in creating pockets of terror (particularly in the first video diary excerpt)—and there’s also a “zombies in the cemetery” scene! Indeed, there are several excellent short films trapped within the opening and closing credits of this full-length feature. Other than that, I’m sorry, but I can NOT get past these found footage films putting characters in horrific situations—and yet the person behind the camera never puts it down! I refuse to suspend disbelief. If you were in fields surrounded by zombies and paranoid common folk shooting guns like they were at an NRA family picnic, you would NOT be looking tunnel vision through a camera lens. This has been a major flaw of these films since that stupid bitch in The Blair Witch Project wouldn’t put down the fucking camera and ended up making her cute chubby friend invisible witch dinner.

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It is notable that the characters struggling to survive the aftermath in this film go through a lot of the same motions as characters in most zombie celluloid, such as sneaking into deserted towns looking for supplies, fearing the drinking water is contaminated if zombies are in it, and of course, the moral dilemma of shooting a loved one if they’ve been bit (personally, that would NOT be a conundrum for me…sorry loved ones.). And then there’s the conflict of interests as the lives of various groups of survivors collide. Why can’t the few who still live ever get along in these movies? Unfortunately, this is where the first film begins the torture porn that is later fully exploited in the sequel. Nope. Not even a zombie apocalypse is a wake-up call for the scum of the earth. Raping, pillaging, and killing abound. And suddenly, I see the light. Oh gosh. Maybe the humans are the real monsters…not the zombies. How could I have been so blind?

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Zombie Diaries 2 tries a new approach. Instead of several individual stories that eventually converge, we spend the whole movie following a small cluster of military soldiers. And man does it get repetitious. It’s essentially a video game: a mission-based first person shooter that you don’t get to play. They spend the entire movie going from one location to the next while fighting off zombies. It’s a shoot and escape action game. The unique aspect of this film is the periodic flashback clips of how the military men were responsible for executing civilians in an attempt to control the infection. What innovative commentary on society.

I will say, the opening scene has one of the best zombie scares ever. I nearly peed myself even though I totally knew it was coming. It’s also the only scene not related to the remainder of the film. It’s essentially an epilogue showing how the initial outbreak affects the general population (which harkens back to the opening of the first film). And the sequel does have some of the same creepy moments as the first film involving tight spaces and just a night vision camera.

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Plus, there is continuity, as characters from the first film return—in particular, the crazy dirt bags, back for extended raping, pillaging, and killing. The sequel seems to forget it’s a zombie film at this point, and it’s downhill from there. There’s even a part that appears to show the gang of sickos screwing a zombie. They are doing her from behind against a barn wall, and she is moaning and convulsing before they shoot her in the head, so she may have been human, but that’s not the impression I got. What do you want from me? I’m not exactly experienced in distinguishing the difference between a live and dead woman having sex….

zombie diaries 2 screw

As in the first film, it’s just as ridiculous that the cameraman—in this case, a cameraman for the military—never puts down the damn camera. And when the good guys are eventually taken hostage by the bad guys, the bad guys grab the camera and start filming. Why exactly is everyone so obsessed with capturing everything on camera? So they can have matinees on weekends where zombies get in half-price?

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Interestingly, with absolutely no logical reason for the lone survivor to be filming anything since there’s NO ONE left to film, the filmmakers suddenly opt to convert to a third person perspective for the finale scene—just in time to set us up for the promise of a trilogy….

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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