Directed by Tom Savini
Screenplay George A. Romero
Starring Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Towles,
Heather Mazur, Katie Finneran, and Bill Mosely
Running time 92 minutes
Released October 1990
I like most fans am not entirely happy with all the constant remakes that seem to be in never ending supply, especially in my favorite genre. However every once in a while one comes along that just blows the doors off our preconceived notions about remakes and their place, in the early 90's that's what Night of the Living dead did. It caught us by surprise and left us speechless, because some how Savini, Romero, and cast were able to take a film that was not only loved, but a game changer in the genre, and maintain the integrity of the original film but still modernize and twist it just enough to make feel fresh and interesting all over again.
The story doesn't change much we still start out in the cemetery, and move on to the farmhouse with the cast of characters we expect, trying to stave off the zombie horde, while trying to find a way to escape to safety at the same time. The change comes from the portrayal of the characters more than anything, but there are small variances throughout the film, that give it a fresh appeal and make you want to continue to see whats coming. The end of this remake is stellar, I loved how it came together, the slight twists to what we think we know, and the additional story line at the end of the film is so true to human nature, it all really sold this remake for me.
You cant talk about this film without making mention of the fantastic performances that in particular Patricia Tallman, and Tony Todd put forth. Patricia brings a strength blended with calm resolve that is really fun to watch evolve as the movie plays out. Tony Todd steals this one though! Its easy to overlook sometimes just how much depth he has as an actor, and this film (along with another I watched recently check my film reviews section for Sushi Girl) is a grand example of what we often over look with him. He plays Ben with a full range of emotions, tender and kind one moment to hard as nails the next. He is so believable in the role, drawing you into his conflicts with other characters and his own inner struggle because of the situation they find themselves in. It is easy to see why he has gone on to the iconic status in the genre.
This is definitely a great film, and if you haven't yet seen it you should! It just works on all levels and will help remind you as a fan that sometimes a remake isn't a bad thing!