MIFF 2010 review: Survival of the dead and Down Terrace @ Shed 4

2 Aug


Aaaargh! Is the best word to sum up the collective feeling that spread through the chilly air of Shed 4 on Saturday night. Halfway through George Romero’s latest offering, I heard my friend kicking bins around outside, and thought, ‘that’s got to be more fun than this’.

Based on Survival of the dead, the zombie-master’s film career should be laid out to rest. It was so appalling as to be slightly disturbing, like visiting a once-brilliant person in hospital who is now suffering the debilitating effects of dementia or alzheimers. The situation was worsened by  a technical glitch, so that for the first half of the film the faint dialogue was overpowered  by analogue cicada noises and white noise zzzzing through our car speakers. Consequently, we had no idea what was going on in this Irish-western  influenced offering – when the sound was finally fixed, we realised that it was probably more enjoyable without sound on account of the woeful dialogue and laughable plot. Romero’s well known for his gripping, gory, atmospheric  zombie films; this was about as gripping as wet super glue. Fortunately, the backseat of out car was very cuddly, and we managed to keep our spirits high by  helping ourselves to lashings of humour, cheese and champagne.

The second offering, Down Terrace, put an end to that delusional good mood. A dreadfully inappropriate and self-indulgent choice to screen at a Drive-In, it was like a dulled out Mike Leigh without the wit and perceptive characterisation.  At least Survival of the dead was so silly you could have a laugh about it; this film, however, had no redeeming features. It was like something you’d only watch if you were home recovering after major surgery. My care factor towards the characters was zero and try as we might, we were unable to get halfway through before the groans gave way to a mass exodus.

Whoever programmed Down Terrace in particular should be ashamed of themselves. What a waste of a great venue and concept!


12 Responses to “MIFF 2010 review: Survival of the dead and Down Terrace @ Shed 4”

  1. Ronan Macewan August 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    How many stars then?

    • Anna Sutton August 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm #


      • Ronan Macewan August 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

        oh i just saw a half star above. What do you think should be done differently next year? I’m guessing different venue, different films. Did the shed think work at all? I heard the sound was very tinny and acoustically weird from all the metal.

      • Anna Sutton August 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

        The venue is fantastic, the sound problem could easily be fixed and does not reflect badly on the choice of venue. I described the bad sound in my review. A programmer who is in touch with what people want to see at a drive-in would be a good start.

  2. Ronan Macewan August 2, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    A zombie movie seems like a good choice…Mike Leigh-esque films not so much.

    What sort of films would you program?

  3. anna August 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Well, the Machete Maidens that screened Friday night would be more apt. I suppose films that allow you to embrace the nostalgic element of going to a Drive In. A retro follow up would have been good. Some ideas include Patrick with the Goblin soundtrack, the Japanese Hausu or better still an off-the-wall comedy like Goodbye Pork Pie.

  4. Tim Bishop August 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    The whiny sound couldn’t have been fixed, it’s the result of an FM transmitter being used in a big tin box. The other sound that was fixed, kind of a low thumping, was from a loose connection.

    • grammorris August 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

      I’ve never been to a drive in but I would have thought a Romero zombie film should have suited it. I would suggest something nice and fluffy like a Rodney Dangerfield double..back to school and lady bugs.

      • Ronan Macewan August 3, 2010 at 7:48 am #

        T&A retrospective. Are you listening MIFF? We want Porkys et al!

      • anna August 5, 2010 at 11:15 am #

        If someone announced that this film was going to be screened at a drive-in theatre I’d pretty much wet my pants.

    • Anna Sutton August 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

      You mean the sound that was like ponies trotting over the car speakers? Interesting. Well, I don’t know, but apparently the sound was good at the screening there the night before.

  5. Anna Sutton August 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Yes, the idea of a Romero zombie was a good choice, it just wasn’t his best film. I just saw Rubber and something like that would have been ideal. It didn’t need to be a masterpiece.

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