Survival of the Dead (George A. Romero, 2009)

George Romero has made a (mid-Atlantic) western. Fightin’ families, ridin’ horses, shootin’ guns, and eatin’ brains pad out a story of a feud between the (despicable) Muldoons and the (reprehensible) O’Flynns, who argue about how to treat the undead varmints on their post-zompocalypse island. To be fair, it’s fun to play spot-the-genre-tropes, but Romero has done so much better with similar slim pickings that to chew the fat about which famous oater villain had the best gun-hidden-in-his-sleeve trick, or whether the autumnal color palate evokes late Ford or early Peckinpah, is to miss the point that, while the writer-director’s whip-smart intelligence is still there, it emerges only in flashes and spurts.

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