13 February 2003 | Infofreak
Much better than I expected, but the original is still the best.
I'm always wary of remakes of horror and science fiction classics as they are almost always inferior to the original versions, in many cases REALLY inferior. There have been a few successful and worthwhile attempts, especially John Carpenter's 'The Thing' and David Cronenberg's spin on 'The Fly'. Tom Savini's 'Night Of The Living Dead' is another good one. Even though Savini is a legend in the special effects world I really expected this to be awful. It wasn't. While not as literal as the misguided 'Psycho' remake by Gus Van Zant, Savini sticks very close to the source material, and doesn't mess with it as much as Carpenter or Cronenberg did. George Romero scripted, adapting his original screenplay co-written with John A. Russo, and both men co-produce. The main difference in this version, apart from obvious ones like being filmed in colour and with some more sophisticated special effects, is the expansion of the Barbara character, who is much less passive and more important to the plot. Barbara is played by Patricia Tallman who worked with Savini on Romero's cult favourite 'Knightriders'. She is probably best known for her recurring role on 'Babylon 5'. Tony Todd ('Candyman') plays Ben, and is very good, and the underrated Tom Towles ('Henry:Portrait Of a Serial Killer') is excellent as the slimy Harry Cooper. The scenes between the two are really strong, and add a lot to the original. I also enjoyed seeing Bill Mosley (Chop Top from 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2') playing Barbara's brother Johnny in the opening sequence. My only real gripe about the movie is the surprising lack of gore, and also the new ending which to me is nowhere near as good as the original. Apart from that it is much better than I expected, and I highly recommended it to anyone who enjoys Romero's "Dead" trilogy.