Zombies from the very beginning with 1968's seminal Night Of The Living Dead have been George A. Romero's game, and it makes me happy to report that the master is back in it.
2005's Land Of The Dead was a great surprise. Romero hadn't directed a zombie film for 20 years since Day Of The Dead, so I wasn't sure what direction he could possibly take with his series. LAND ended up being a potent mix of crackerjack action, fun characterizations and sly commentary.
2008's Diary Of The Dead I felt was a misstep for the filmmaker as it got too bogged down in it's documentary/first person style and ideas about information or rather disinformation spread through media. It felt all theme and barely a movie. I guess I should have appreciated that more as how often in this genre can you see a film that is so bold in eschewing it's entertainment for something more intellectual. Humor and fun characters would have definitely helped.
Survival Of The Dead is in a lot of ways Romero scaling back the Zombie tales he's trying to tell to give it more immediacy while trying to explore his themes. Tribalism and humanity's primal need to engage in war is on the card for this go round and Romero manages to deliver his message and return to the humor, wacky characters and even some of the crackerjack action of LAND and Dawn Of The Dead.
I wouldn't place this new film as one of the best in the series, it still trails behind his first 4 Zombie films. The gore is there, but by now it's mostly replaced with digital enhancement. One will always long for the days when a nice squib really did the trick. Some of the gun play and set pieces should have been better choreographed (LAND really benefited from it's bigger budget) And the story revolving around 2 Irish clans set on an island off of Delaware was a bit hard to ease into. But after awhile I got involved and found myself having fun with it.
It should be noted that Zombies with each of Romero's films are becoming increasingly incidental. Which is kind of what I really liked about this new film. In this new movie world of Zombie films that need to be jazzed up whatever way possible to keep the audiences interested, George A. Romero is still making stories about people first.
I prefer the UK DVD artwork: