The following is a discussion on the topic currently dividing the country (or at least the film critics at The Connection): "Zombies: Fast or Slow?"
Hello, and welcome to the debate on whether or not fast zombies are better than the traditional slow-pacing ones. With the recent release of "28 Weeks Later" — the sequel to "28 Days Later," the film that created the fast zombie craze — the debate has been sparked yet again and the country is once more divided. Should zombies be the slow reanimated creatures from the "Night of the Living Dead" series or the virus infected marathon sprinters of more recent films?
If "28 Weeks Later" is any example, then it is this new breed of zombie that is truly the scariest. For instance, could the U.S. military, which is in control of England after the events of the previous film, really be overcome by the slow plodding of traditional zombies? Would the mass confusion caused by the zombifying virus, which returns in the compound set up to start repopulating England, occur if people could simply stroll away from their flesh-eating former relatives?
It is seriously doubtful. Many of the best scares come from the fact that the zombies appear out of nowhere, instead of moving at a rigid pace.
Yet the filmmakers don’t seem confident in their track-star zombies, so they make the military into villains as well. If bashing political and social commentary into the audience's head is a side effect of these speed demons of carnage, than give us the foot dragging dead of the, at least, semi-subtle "Dawn of the Dead."
Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, filling in for "28 Days" director Danny Boyle, keeps the mega-fast marauding murderers scary, which is something even a director the likes of George Romero has trouble doing with the plodding platoons of living dead in traditional zombie movies.
The scariest scenes from both these styles of zombie movies are the ones without zombies at all, when the viewer is tasked with long pauses in violence. Fresnadillo knows this, as the last scary scene of "Weeks" is a long first person shot through the lens of a night vision scope. It's dark, creepy and has nary a slow or fast zombie in sight.
As we can see, it may not matter if the zombies are foot-dragging fodder or high-tailing horrors. It's what the director does with them that makes reanimated corpses truly scary.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s debate, "Zombies: Fast or Slow?" Join us next week for "Die Hard 2 or 4: Which has the Better Sequel Title?"