Zombies are a great go-to horror villain. They can be cheap to create - simply by sticking some grey face-paint and fake blood on a bunch of willing extras - and they come in "shambling," "fast" and "superfast" modes. Being already dead, they're also notoriously difficult to kill without resorting to some gloriously gory head-smashing fun, and there's no need to even write dialogue for them other than groans and moans.
Audiences are also very enamored with zombies, whether they're the lovable-but-misunderstood characters of rom-zom-com Warm Bodies or the staple of The Walking Dead, which has found success in the world of comic books, television and video games, alike. It's no surprise, then, that everyone wants to get a little piece of the zombie pie.
A remake of George Romero's Day of the Dead was announced just a few months ago by Lati Grobman and Christa Campbell, who also produced the Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot Texas Chainsaw 3D. Now Deadline reports that the producers have settled on a director for the project, Mark Tonderai (Hush) and are already putting together a production schedule.
It's important to keep an open mind about horror remakes, especially after Zack Snyder's surprisingly good remake of Dawn of the Dead, but assigning Tonderai as director is a fast way to kill off excitement for this one. Tonderai is best known for another horror film, House at the End of the Street, an altogether terrible movie that is notable for starring Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role, and basically nothing else.
Day of the Dead was remade just five years ago by director Steve Miner (Halloween H2O), with Mena Suvari in the lead as Sarah. The original is the third in Romero's classic zombie trilogy, set some time after the original zombie outbreak, as friction grows between a group of scientists and soldiers occupying an underground bunker that's secure from zombie infiltration, but not from frailties of the human condition.
Millenium and Campbell Grobman Films are aiming to get production on Day of the Dead going by summer 2014, which means that the new year will probably bring quite a few casting announcements. The script was co-written by Tonderai and Lars Jacobson (who has no previous feature credits).
While it's still very early to judge, and there's a chance that a trailer for this Day of the Dead remake could end up wowing us all, the choice of screenwriters and director doesn't inspire much confidence. Millenium Films' last Day of the Dead remake was made on a limited budget and went direct to DVD, and it feels like this one might end up in the same place - with the added bonus of being able to cash in on The Walking Dead's current popularity. Still, there'll always be the original version...
Day of the Dead doesn't yet have a release date, but we'll keep you updated on its progress.