Director – James Plumb, Screenplay – Andrew Jones & James Plumb, Producer – Andrew Jones, Photography/Music – James Morrissey, Makeup Effects – Rachael Southcott, Production Design – Jeff Butler. Production Company – North Bank Entertainment/Mad Science Films.
Lee Bane (Kevin), Terry Victor (Gerald), Kathy Saxondale (Karen), Mel Stevens (Mandy), Rose Granger (Jennifer), Roger Bailey (Bill), Sule Rimi (Ben), Aaron Bell (Sam), Richard Goss (Red), S.J. Evans (Rhodes)
Ben drives through rural Wales as the zombie apocalypse overtakes the rest of the country. Running low on gas, he seeks shelter at a nearby house only to be shot by the householder Gerald. Realising they have killed a living person, Gerald and his son-in-law Kevin hide the body in the shed with the other zombies they have killed. They are sheltered in the house along with Gerald’s wife Karen, son Sam and two daughters Mandy and Jennifer, who is Kevin’s pregnant wife, as well as the aging grandfather Bill. However, infection from bites threaten their safety, along with the zombies and marauding teen hooligans outside.
George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) created the modern zombie film. The film was massively influential and there have been a number of works clambering to follow it up. Romero sequelised it five times and there was a parallel sequel series beginning with Return of the Living Dead (1985), which produced four sequels. Romero oversaw an okay remake Night of the Living Dead (1990), directed by his makeup effects artist Tom Savini. There was a further remake with Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), as well as Night of the Living Dead (2014), which does not appear to be widely seen, and the animated Night of the Animated Dead (2021). (For a greater overview of the genre see Zombie Films).
Night of the Living Dead fell into public domain because someone forgot to renew the copyright. This has meant that there was nothing preventing a host of unofficial sequels. Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection was the first of these and there have also been the unrelated likes of Night of the Living Dead: Darkest Dawn (2015), Night of the Living Dead: Genesis (2019) and Night of the Living Dead: Rebirth (2019). There was also Night of the Living Dead Reanimated (2009) where the original was reworked using animated clips and artwork from numerous contributing artists and Mimesis (2011), a horror film about people trapped inside an elaborate recreation of the original.
Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection is connected to Night of the Living Dead in only the most minimal ways. Where Romero shot in Pittsburgh, this takes place in the Welsh countryside. Both films have plots about a group of people holed up in a house against the zombie outbreak outside. There is a Black character named Ben (Sule Rimi) who talks to a Babs (Barbara) on the phone during the opening moment. And this film does borrow the debate about where the best place to hide is: “Maybe we’d be better off in the basement?” “It’d be a deathtrap.” Also the scenes where a teen gang invades the house and disrupts the security of everybody’s refuge feels somewhat modelled on the scenes with the biker gang invading the mall in Romero’s sequel Dawn of the Dead (1978). The film also arrives at a different but similar kind of ending where people survive the onslaught as a militia arrives only to receive a nasty fate.
Certainly, this does play with your expectations of Night of the Living Dead in some interesting ways. We are introduced to Sule Rimi’s Ben in the opening scenes driving through the countryside as the zombie outbreak occurs before he runs out of gas and goes to a nearby house to ask for help – only to be blasted away through the keyhole by a shotgun. This comes as an effective jolt. It draws on our associations with Ben as the hero of the original Night of the Living Dead before jolting us out of them fifteen minutes into the show. It is not unakin to the introduction of Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960) where we are led to believe she is the sympathetic viewpoint character before she is abruptly killed.
All of that said, Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection is not very well made. The photography seems amateurish. Clearly, the film was shot in somebody’s house and, as a result, some of the scenes, especially those in the kitchen, look cramped. The film does mount to a moderately gory climax. But in truth it is a shabbily made and simply not very interesting attempt to jump aboard the zombie bandwagon using a bogus claim to the legitimacy of Romero’s title. One suspects if the film had been released without the Night of the Living Dead pedigree it would have vanished without notice.
The end credits ambitiously announce Night of the Living Dead: Revelations, which has so far yet to emerge.
Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection was a directorial debut for Welsh director James Plumb. Plumb subsequently went on to make Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming (2013), another film that poses as being a sequel to a classic work, Kerb Crawlers (2015) and Little Monster (2018).
The film was produced and co-written by Andrew Jones who has become a prolific director of low-budget horror films with the likes of The Amityville Asylum (2013), The Midnight Horror Show (2014), Valley of the Witch (2014), A Haunting at the Rectory (2015), The Last House on Cemetery Lane (2015), Poltergeist Activity (2015), The Curse of Robert the Doll (2015), Robert the Doll (2015), The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund (2016), Cabin 28 (2017), The Toymaker (2017), Werewolves of the Third Reich (2017), Jurassic Predator (2018), The Legend of Halloween Jack (2018), The Legend of Robert the Doll (2018), Bundy and the Green River Killer (2018), The Curse of Halloween Jack (2019), The Manson Family Massacre (2019), Robert Reborn (2019), The Utah Cabin Murders (2019), The Haunting of Margam Castle (2020), The Jonestown Haunting (2020), A Killer Next Door (2020) and Alien: Battlefield Earth (2021).