Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead (2011)
Review by Jude Felton
Over the years, George Romero’s groundbreaking movie, Night of the Living Dead, has been remade, colorized, reanimated, regenerated, sent to the third dimension and who only knows what else. Its impact remains unrivalled in the world of horror, and filmmakers keep returning to it, time and time again. Now there is a new kid on the block, with director Douglas Schulze’s Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead, and you know what, it ain’t half bad.
To say that Mimesis is an original riff on Night of the Living Dead would be a little off point, but there is a fun idea here, and it’s one that could be expanded on in further films (Mimesis 2 is in the works), if the makers play their cards right. I am getting ahead of myself though, as you might want to know what this film is actually about, right?
Mimesis starts at a horror convention, where Sid Haig pops up briefly, where Russell and Duane (see what they did there?) get invited to an after party out at a remote location. Probably against their better judgment they decide to go to the party, along with a few others, and all is going swimmingly, until the next morning.
Upon awakening things look incredibly familiar, to genre fans at least, as it would appear that they have woken up in Night of the Living Dead. Really? How the hell did that happen? Well, my fine amigos, you’ll just have to watch the film to find out exactly what is going on. It’s not quite as ridiculous as it might sound, and despite some initial reservations about where the film was heading, I actually ended up having fun with the film.
Now, whether or not I have fun with a film is a moot point really, as I can have fun with good films or bad films. It’s all down to whether I enjoy what I am watching or not, and I will admit to finding this film a little frustrating in parts, and also quite clever as well. It really was a mixed bag. However, there is a nice self-referential feel to events, and Schulze nails the look and events of Romero’s film.
Don’t go in expecting the story, or script, to follow Night of the Living Dead, instead you will find characters, locations and the odd event to feel very similar, but there is more going here on than meets the eye, and Schulze does a solid job of translating this onto the screen. Mimesis is a party movie, and by that I mean it probably works best watched with a group of friends, rather than sitting and critically analyzing every tiny event on screen.
The acting is okay throughout, with Haig hamming it up in his two scenes, and the rest of the main cast all putting in solid shifts. The actual look of the film is where is succeeds most for me though; with the transition from modern day back to the late 60s’ working well, with a look of authenticity to everything.
The film also looks nice and sharp on Blu-ray, with the plentiful scenes of gore literally splashing off the screen. Well, it is a zombie movie after all, isn’t it?
I’ll finish off this review by saying one last thing; the film works as a fun schlocky B-movie. However, there is, in my opinion, a slightly ill-advised attempt at social commentary in relationship to movie violence and real life violence. Romero, in his earlier career, managed this without forcing it down your throat; you could watch his films as purely entertainment, but there was more there under the surface. With Mimesis these aspects are loud and proud and virtually shoved into your face. Horror may not be the most subtle of genres, but when dealing with elements like this a little subtlety is just what is required. Anyway, you can make your own minds up if you choose to check Mimesis out.
Mimesis is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Anchor Bay on February 12th.