The Walking Dead is an interesting film. I bet a lot of you think about the TV show when you hear this title but this movie predates that by a considerable amount of time. It does sort of have a zombie as the main character though which is a fun coincidence as it were. What makes this film fairly unique is it’s a revenge film of sorts but one where the main character doesn’t really get the revenge directly. He spends most of the film being rather confused to be honest.
The movie starts off with a nice old man named John being tricked into being the fall guy for a bunch of crooks. The cops figure he is guilty of murder and unfortunately nobody can help him out. John’s own attorney is in on the scheme and intentionally defends him in a really poor way so that it appears John was insane and evil the whole time. John is sentenced to death and executed. Fortunately Dr. Evans is able to revive him using a very experimental procedure. John is now back from the dead and has a 6th sense in a way where he is able to tell someone’s true intentions and knows if they were partially responsible for his death. So he wants answers….why would anyone possibly want to bump him off or was it just a matter of being at the wrong place at the wrong time?
The uniqueness of the movie is in a way also part of the issue. See, in concept I’m not opposed to a revenge film like this where the main character is more interested in finding out the truth than enacting revenge. I think that can actually be rather compelling but for most of the movie it just feels like John is really unsure of himself and sort of hesitating a lot instead of being like a true detective. John is older so I can cut him a bit of slack but it means that he isn’t always the most engaging main character. You get the feeling he’s lucky that this was an older film because there’s a number of ways the mafia types could have taken him out in the present.
Where this premise gets fun though is we see weaponized karma to an extent as every villain starts getting bumped off in crazy ways. They just can’t help but die throughout the movie as they are bumped off one by one. You could maybe even say it is as if John is bumping them off through some kind of bad luck ability. In a way for the characters the scariest part about this is it means even if they were to quickly apologize or run to the cops they may still die. It’s not as if John is controlling these abilities. For most of the film he barely even knows what is going on.
The end of the film also tackles the question on if you should revive someone if you can or if that’s taking things a step too far. Personally I don’t believe it is possible to ever conquer death so the question is moot but hypothetically if we had the ability should we use it? It’s an interesting question and I would actually say yes to it. Because the way I see it, if you have the ability to save someone then you have to use it and I see the ability in that context. Of course someone like John had already lived out most of his life so you can see why he wanted to stay dead but letting him die is almost like destroying him so it’s a really tricky position.
In most things I say you let the individual choose what they want to do but this is a really close one. I dunno I don’t think it’s an easy question but it’s an interesting scenario. At the end of the day though when you see a title like “The Walking Dead” you are picturing a slasher type film where zombies are eating everyone and causing a mess. I’m super glad that wasn’t the case of course but the whole story almost feels a bit misleading. It’ a lot more subtle and low key than you may have been expecting. I would also say it’s less violent than I expected.
Yes, there are a lot of deaths and some of them are quite painful but it’s not like your classic Hammer film that really wants to zoom in on the details and slow everything down. The deaths here are mainly matter of fact so they go by really fast. The film also introduced the villains are being very unlikable so you were ready for them to get bumped off. As always the writing was very solid for this classic film though and so it worked pretty well to supplement the main story. With weaker writing this film could have easily crossed the line into being boring but fortunately that didn’t happen.
I do have to give a shout-out to the two witnesses at the beginning for being rather awful characters though. They were too scared to tell the truth of what happened which is the only way the frame-up was able to work at all. If they had spoken up sooner then they would have basically avoided this entire film. Sure the villains threatened them but letting someone else take the chair for you is a step too far. I’m glad they eventually came to the right decision of wanting to help him out but it was too late at that point thanks to the villains seemingly being everywhere so they were able to slow this down. The villains definitely planned this one out thoroughly.
Overall, The Walking Dead is a fairly chill film but once I understood that this wasn’t going for a more action packed angle then it worked well enough for me. The opening scene actually is fairly tragic because it’s probably everyone’s worst fear to have an attorney intentionally sabotage you. Once you are in the court room you are really putting your life in the attorney’s hands so to see this backfire has to be incredibly unnerving. It’s also hard to know what to do at that point and even if you were to jump in and say you want to represent yourself, it’s too late by that point. I think you’ll have a good time with this one. It’s also quite short so it’s not like it’ll take much time for you to watch this one all the way through.