Synopsis: Discordant people find themselves trapped in a farmhouse besieged by the living dead.
• A reinvention of the zombie genre so successful that most successive zombie films were inspired by it to some degree.
• Genuinely uncomfortable and disturbing at times, even for today’s standards.
• Was truly subversive in its implementation, especially with an African-American hero. Duane Jones was the solid though desperate heart of the film.
• The way the living strangers had trouble working together in an extremely stressful situation, largely leading to failure, was likely too accurate.
• Though Duane Jones performance was solid, some of the acting was rather stilted.
• The ending might have been too nihilistic for some.
“They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”
We may never know how we would react to an impossible, unknowable situation. It is unlikely that any of us would want to find out, and the ones that have might tell us that we do not want to know. Everyone in this film was freaked out starting in the very first scene. We can understand why Barbara (Judith O’Dea) went almost catatonic, Ben (Duane Jones) masked his horror through the need to survive, Harry (Karl Hardman) was in a corner snarling, Tom and Judy (Keith Wayne and Judith Ridley) tried to pretend it will be all right. In the end, no one was right, because none of them really could agree on even working together at times. The real horror was how we saw ourselves in these doomed people.
Rotten Tomatoes — 97%