Movie Review: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Hello and welcome to another Month of Spooks review. So what’s on the menu today? Zombies? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Night of the Living Dead”.

The story follows a group of strangers as they barricade themselves inside of a farmhouse. Why are they doing this? Because the dead have risen from their graves and have come to feast on the flesh of the living. So now we have our survival plot. And it’s pretty good. This is the grandfather of zombie stories, and everything you recognize in a lot of current zombie stuff was born here. Sure, there were movies featuring the creates before “Night of the Living Dead”, but this is what set up most of what we know zombie stuff to be. From “Braindead” to “Resident Evil” to “The Walking Dead”, we have this story to thank for every zombie thing in our modern times. But aside from that, is this a well executed version of that? Yeah. The stories and developments that happen inside of the house when the survivors are doing anything to stay alive (and not lash out at each other), that stuff it utterly compelling thanks to some solid writing. But when we go back to the living dead it just doesn’t fully hold up, it’s just not as interesting as the survivors just interacting. I’m sure that stuff was horrifying and intriguing back in the day, but for yours truly in 2018 it doesn’t quite have the same impact. But the plot isn’t bad, it’s just a mixed bag.

The characters in this are fine, not awful, not great. Duane Jones (R.I.P) plays Ben, one of the survivors we follow, as well as being one of the first ones we meet. He’s probably the most capable of them all, constantly on his feet and thinking a step or two ahead, making him one that I’d follow in this kind of scenario. And Jones is great in the role. And in supporting roles we have people like Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman (R.I.P), Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne (R.I.P), and Judith Ridley, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by William Loose (R.I.P), and I thought it was good. Sure, it has that sort of 50s/60s cheese with a lot of low brass and theremin-esque vocals to create that sort of cheesy horror sound… and I like it, really gives the movie an interesting and often surreal vibe.

As you all probably know, this movie was written (with the help of John Russo) and directed by George Romero (R.I.P), and he did a great job here, which is especially impressive considering this was his first movie. He builds a lot of suspense thanks to his claustrophobic camerawork inside of the farmhouse, which made me feel kind of uneasy while watching this. Good job, Mr. Romero.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/10. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Night of the Living Dead” is a revolutionary film that I don’t love as much as some people, but still highly recommend. It has a good plot, okay characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Though as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by the zombie aspects of this zombie story not being that interesting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Night of the Living Dead” is an 8,77/10. So while not perfect, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Night of the Living Dead” is now completed.

No, bad zombie, no flesh for you!

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

  1. I am probably one of those people who loves this film more than you. I still think it set the bar for zombie films, and has rarely been bettered on such a low budget. It was my favourite, until I saw ‘Train To Busan’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Pingback: The Month of Spooks 2018 Roundup | TheMarckoguy

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