Customer Reviews: The Zombie Diaries
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on September 28, 2009
I probably don't have to tell you that this independent horror film isn't about zombies writing in their diaries. However, I should point out that the cover art has little to do with anything that happens in the film. In such a case you might conclude that this film is a complete waste of time since most DVD cases with exceptionally enticing and irritatingly deceptive cover art are stinkers. In this case that's not so clear. It depends on what you're looking for. As usual, I'll have to chew this into smaller pieces.

That's right. This English film is shot using hand-held video cameras much like "Blair Witch" and "Clover Field". Unlike those films, the cameras are handled with some competence. Though I did get a bit sea sick at moments, overall it was tolerable. Other than the adept use of the cameras there was nothing original about this idea. Strangely and mistakenly, there is some very tight in-camera editing while nobody is holding it.

The actors do about as well as you'd expect from a low budget independent horror film. However, they often aren't given much to do but drive around, rummage through abandoned buildings and look for resources. We get to know them to a certain degree and they all act fairly natural most of the time. Though probably a realistic approach, it hardly makes for compelling viewing. This film really does take its time getting to the zombie part of the diary.

Aside from the whole idea of zombies, there are problems with plausibility in "Zombie Diaries". The biggest problem is one that threatens the entire concept of the film; three separate and unrelated groups of people are forced together by events beyond their control and all of them happen to be video recording their ordeals. That's just a bit too convenient a coincidence. But hey, I'll buy into the premise. Perhaps the thing that bugged me the most was the inconsistent response to the slow moving and physically inept zombies. At one moment a man can push them over and smash their heads in with little resistance and the next moment he's running aimlessly in fear, screaming and getting bitten. If I could walk up to them, push them over and smash there heads in, I'm never running frantically from the buggers. Escape would not be a problem.

Despite my criticisms, "Zombie Diaries" has a scary edge to it. The first half hour is especially frightening even though very little seams to be happening. When we do see the antagonists, it is uber creepy. Even though the zombies moved slowly, they also moved very quietly. This kept me on edge and proved fatal to the protagonists a couple of times. Though I think in real life, without the limited peripheral range of a camera, you'd see these guys coming in plenty of time to act. Regardless, I was constantly on my guard waiting for the protagonists to let their guard down or stumble into the stealthy infected.

Though almost completely derived from those who came before, "Zombie Diaries" manages to combine the ideas of it's predecessors into something new. Perhaps the most intriguing concept this film tackles is the idea that we'd have more to fear from unfettered sociopaths than the zombies. With a plague shutting down the normal functions of society, even the zombies become victims at these "monsters" hands. They also would make survival for the average person far less probable, as if zombies weren't enough.

Whether or not people should see this movie depends strictly on personal tastes. This isn't exciting enough for those who crave high octane action and it isn't thought provoking enough for those who require a challenge. It has scary and edgy moments but might not succeed upon repeat viewing. There is good gore and some nudity but not a lot of either. Yet it definitely has a disturbing and nightmarish mood to it. The DVD has all the requisite extras including deleted scenes, commentary, making of and trailer. Rental might be the way to go if you are curious.

Acting......3.5 stars
Story.........3 stars
Visuals......2.5 stars
Gordity......2.5 stars

Average.....2.88 stars
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on February 21, 2010
As the wife of a huge fan of zombies in any genre and a horror fan herself, we were both severely disappointed by this movie. The acting is completely absent, I've seen better delivery by kindergartners. The plot made little to no sense and the special effects would only pass muster at a church spook trail at night. One scene that included "brains" on the ground had us both wondering, "Was that canned cherries?"

There is a huge bounce in the timeline that made no sense, three groups of characters that made you cheer for the zombies, and a setting that was bland and uninteresting. You lose characters who they go back to at the end for no apparent reason. A lot of "What?" moments throughout. The writing lacked a basic knowledge of what people would do in a situation like this, going from one extreme to the other.

I'm am just very glad that we did not pay much for this movie. It makes "Diary of the Dead" look like it should be an Oscar winner. I would greatly encourage you not to bother with this wanna be zombie movie. As a person that has no experience making a movie, I could do better with a $500 budget and a camcorder.
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on August 23, 2010
I generally have a have a high tolerance for lousy flicks, I just can't get through this one.
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on May 10, 2014
It doesn't compare to Romero's classics but may be worth a watch if you've nothing better to do or have time to kill. I'd actually give it 2.5 stars if possible since I didn't really like or dislike it. It's not a memorable flick nor one I'd really watch again so take that for what's it worth. If you like the idea of a movie being shot with a handheld camera DIARY OF THE DEAD is much better.
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on March 12, 2015
Zombie Diaries

This movie owes much to “28 Days Later” and to “Cloverfield.” It may not be technically better or artistically better than either of the forerunners, but that is a matter of taste. It is absolutely more scary and at the end, a lot more horrifying. I have seen dozens of Zombie movies lately and this is the only one that actually scared me. Bravo.
The tail is told of a Zombie pandemic from the viewpoint of various English twenty somethings. This Zombie outbreak is stimulated by a highly infectious virus, a’la “28 Days Later.” The pathogen spreads so quickly that the organized humans are quickly overwhelmed, leaving only tiny groups of survivors. The story follows several of these groups over a time period that spreads from immediately after the outbreak to a month or so later. The movie is filmed by the hand held cameras of the survivor groups. A lot of the action occurs at night where the humans can’t see what is happening around them. It is very scary.
Kevin Gates and Michael Bartlett wrote, directed and produced this spectacularly well done film. The cast are real, if little known, actors. This avoids one of the perennial banes of Zombie movies, crappy acting. These people act their collective tushies off. But it is the camera work and the direction that make this one work so well. The writing is also good, the characters act as we imagine we might act in a similar situation. There are none of the typical horror film flaws like having people wonder off into the fog all alone while something tries to get them. This film is hyper realistic.
This is rated R for gore and a little nudity. It is pretty short at only 85 minutes. If the twist at the end doesn’t horrify you, maybe you have seen too many Zombie movies.
Three and a half brains, the highest award ever give a Zombie flick.
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on October 8, 2010
I couldn't wait for this nonsensical piece of garbage to end, and once it did, I tossed the bloody thing in a plastic bag and forgot about it, I would never add it to my dvd collection, this movie is just plain rubbish! Diary of the Dead by George Romero is definitely worth watching then this bullcrap, the cover is so deceiving as well, but as the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover.
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on May 11, 2009
I'm a long-time zombie fan and I actually didn't mind George Romero's Diary of the Dead. Was it his strongest? No way... but at least it had good effects and a more coherent story line. When I read some of the reviews of Zombie Diaries where people said that it was better than Diary of the Dead, I had to check it out. Some of the acting was decent, but it didn't make up for the acting that was just simply horrible.

Even for a movie that you know is going to have lousy, handheld camera film work, this one was terrible. The scenes that may actually have had the potential to have some action were ruined by crummy, camera-only lighting that just gave brief (and convenient) jumbles of images of the zombies, mixed in with longer scenes of complete darkness and off-camera screaming or yelling.

I really had to struggle to keep awake during this film.
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on March 21, 2012
This movie wasn't what I expected. The whole thing is shot in a Blair Witch type handheld minicam view. It keeps switching from group to group too. I am sick of slow moving stupid zombies. The review says better than 28 days but I say bull. At least the zombies in 28 days can run fast and rip you to shreds in a matter of minutes. I don't know what the reviewers were thinking. I'll probably sell this pile of crap. I only gave it 2 stars because it is at least a zombie movie.
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on August 22, 2012
Set in England during a world-wide viral infection, this documentary-style film records the rise of the undead from the videocams of several survivor groups. It charts the early days of the plague, right through to the last days of the apocalypse.

<sigh> Yet, another film done in the perspective of such films as "The Blair Witch Project", "Cloverfield", "Paranormal Activity", and "Diary of the Dead". That's one thing from the get-go that had me against this movie. As much as I love zombie movies, I have a strong dislike for movies filmed like this. Why? Most of the time, the cameras shake so badly that you can't focus on what's going on and, a good bit of that time you're watching, all you see is black. Sad thing is you never really get much out of movies filmed in this manner. However, that's one thing that Zombie Diaires had in it's favor. The camera work wasn't quite that bad and was mostly tolerable.

Course, after viewing the film, Zombie Diaries had alot of pluses to it. The acting was good, better than some other low-budget films I've seen of late. At times, the movie was extremely effective at being creepy. The story, although typical for a zombie flick, was alright. Effects weren't too bad.

As far as Zombie Diaries being better than 28 Days Later? Um, sadly, no. As far as it being the most realistic zombie film ever made? Again, sadly, no. Okay, how about it being a bloody powerhouse of a movie? Maybe. I will give credit where it's due. It was pretty creepy at times, folks. These zombies, like the ones in "The Dead", were quiet!

Overall, Zombie Diaries was an okay movie. There's alot of room for improvement, however. We'll see if they deliver that in Zombie Diaires 2.
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on October 22, 2010
Absolutely awful. This is one of the worst zombie movies I have ever seen. The acting was just plain bad, very amateurish. Plus, the characters were so stupid. If there were real zombies, this movie should be used in "Zombie Survival Class" on how not to behave.
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