Night Of The Living Dead

George Romero scripted and served as executive producer on this 1990 color remake of his own low-budget scare classic, although he left the directorial duties to makeup specialist Tom Savini, making his feature debut here. Aficionados of the original will want to see this in order to notice the interesting variations in both plot and overall emphasis, but this version is a good deal coarser and considerably more bitter than its predecessor. The emphasis on family ties in the 1968 version is supplanted by more noticeable amounts of self-interest and cruelty, and purely as a suspense and horror vehicle, this is markedly less effective, largely because of Savini’s detached direction. But the film can’t simply be discounted as a skim job on the original; Romero’s dark social commentary, which grew in impact over his entire Dead trilogy, is still very much present here, even if it no longer has the same bite and urgency. With Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, and Tom Towles. R, 96 min. (JR)

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