Survival of the Dead (also known as George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead) is a 2009 American film by George A. Romero which follows a group of mercerary National Guardsmen who briefly appeared in Diary of the Dead. The film was first released on DVD in the UK on March 15, 2010, followed by a video on demand release on April 30, 2010, followed by a limited theatrical release on May 28, 2010. The movie was met with generally negative reviews.
The first part of the film follows the actions of former Colonel and current Sergeant "Nicotine" Crockett (Alan van Sprang), who, after a failed raid of sorts that ends in the deaths and reanimation of several fellow National Guardsmen and his getting demoted to Sergeant, deserts his post with Kenny (Eric Woolfe), Francisco (Stefano Colacitti) and Tomboy (Athena Karkanis). The four go on to rob the protagonists of the previous film.
Meanwhile, off the coast of Delaware lies Plum Island, home to two feuding Irish families - the O'Flynns and the Muldoons. The former family, led by Patrick O'Flynn (Kenneth Welsh), round up a posse and kill the undead of the island, learning that the Muldoons, led by Seamus Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) are keeping their undead loved ones "alive" until a cure is found. A brief standoff ends with the Muldoons exiling Patrick and several other O'Flynns, under the suggestion of Patrick's daughter Janet (Kathleen Munroe).
Three weeks pass. The National Guard deserters find themselves joined by Boy (Devon Bostick) after an encounter with some fellow zombie-killers, and through Boy and an internet connection they learn of Plum Island - a video that was recorded by Patrick O'Flynn. They head to a nearby dock as instructed, and a gunfight starts between the O'Flynns bunkered down in a fishing shop and Crockett's group. Francisco successfully commandeers a ferry for the group during the battle (Several zombies showing up to distract both sides of the gunfight), biting the finger off of an attacking zombie along the way.
The O'Flynns, except Patrick, are killed by zombies and the deserters board the ferry. Patrick too jumps aboard, kept there by a shaky truce of sorts as the rest of the group takes care of the zombies on board the ferry. Francisco starts to feel sick, having earlier ingested the blood of a zombie. On the trip over, Patrick reveals he sent other strangers over to Plum Island to anger Muldoon and trigger the latter's distrust for strangers. Eventually, the group makes it to the island on a small dingy.
There, they discover that the Muldoons have chained up the zombies in imitation of their previous lives - a mailman puts mail in a mailbox, a logger wields an axe on some wood, and so on. It is revealed that Patrick's daughter Janet is now a zombie, riding around on her horse as she did when she was alive. The living strangers sent over by Patrick have been killed by the Muldoons while the strangers who arrived as zombies were allowed to remain animated. Patrick is disgusted with this and, as he attempts to go into town and gather some allies that did not leave the island from his family, two scouting Muldoons attack the deserters, shooting Crockett and Kenny. The latter dies from his wounds, and is shot in the head by Patrick to prevent reanimation. Patrick heads off.
As Boy works to stitch up Crockett, Francisco's sickness gets worse and he asks to be shot down by Tomboy before he turns into a zombie. She complies, and is then captured by Muldoon. It is now revealed that Janet is, in fact, a twin - Jane, her favored sister, is the zombie on the horse from earlier. Janet helps Crockett out, and she, Crockett and Boy join the O'Flynn group for their attack on the Muldoons. Crockett agrees to come along to exact revenge for Kenny.
A standoff occurs at the bridge of the river that separates the two families' land, and the O'Flynn group with Crockett are captured, while Boy and Janet are pushed off into the forest. Tomboy is released from Muldoon's capture. During her capture she also learns that Muldoon's own wife is now a zombie chained up in his kitchen. Tomboy rejoins the captive group. Muldoon and O'Flynn face off - Muldoon's one wish is to prove O'Flynn wrong about the zombies, hoping to get the creatures to eat something other than human flesh. Muldoon's latest example is Patrick's daughter Jane, attempting to get her to devour a horse. A farmhand, Chuck (Joris Jarsky), brings out a herd of captured zombies to watch Jane's attempt to eat the horse.
She doesn't, and Janet returns with Boy, giving Crockett and the O'Flynns their weapons back. Janet attempts to reach out to Jane, who bites her twin sister. A gunfight erupts between the two families. Chuck switches sides and gets shot by Muldoon for his trouble. Dying, he releases the zombie herd and is devoured. The gunfight's focus changes to the zombie threat, and they eat and kill most of the ones involved in the shootout.
Muldoon and O'Flynn, each with one bullet left in their guns, create a shaky truce that is immediately broken by Muldoon shooting O'Flynn in the back. A dying O'Flynn unleashes a secret gun stored up his wrist and kills Muldoon. Crockett and his group, fed up with all of the death, attempt to leave the island on the boat they came in on. Janet witnesses her sister actually take a bite out of the horse, and rushes to tell Crockett's group the news, before being shot in the head by her father with his remaining bullet as she has been bit and to show that he has the courage of his convictions. He succumbs to his wounds soon after.
Crockett, Boy and Tomboy refuse to become like the Muldoon and O'Flynn families, and leave the island with the ferry they came in on - the truck they rode in to the dock earlier in the film contains a million dollars they plan to use somehow in the future. Meanwhile, on Plum Island, zombies are seen eating the horse Jane started to eat. The zombified Patrick and Muldoon come up on a hill together, guns in hand, attempting to kill one another once more as zombies. They don't realize that their guns are empty.
- Alan Van Sprang 'Nicotine' Crokett
- Kenneth Welsh
- Kathleen Munroe - Janet O'Flynn
- Devon Bostick
- Richard Fitzpatrick
- Stefano Colacitti
- Athena Karkanis - Tomboy
- Salar Madadi - Zombie Construction Worker
- Joris Jarsky - Chuck
- Matt Birman - Lem Muldoon
With the release of Survival of the Dead, Alan Van Sprang will be the second actor to play a character that appears in more than one of Romero's zombie films. Survival of the Dead will feature Sprang as 'Nicotine' Crocket, an abrasive former soldier that made a brief cameo in Romero's Diary of the Dead, billed only as "Colonel." Van Sprang also appeared in Land of the Dead as the unrelated character Brubaker. The only other actor to appear in two Romero zombie films as the same character is renowned special effects artist Tom Savini. Savini played the ill-fated biker Blades in Romero's Dawn of the Dead and then made a short cameo as a zombie version of Blades (billed as "Machete Zombie") in Romero's Land of the Dead. Special effects artist Gregory Nicotero has also appeared as a member of the undead in several Romero zombie films but never repeatedly as the same zombie. Joe Pilato appeared in Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, but as two different characters. Shawn Roberts also appeared in both "Diary Of The Dead" and "Land Of The Dead", playing Tony Ravello and Mike respectively.
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