Day of the Dead: Bloodline

Day of the Dead: Bloodline (2018)

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The final installment of George A. Romero’s original zombie trilogy is given a re-imagining that holds its own in this film from director Hèctor Hérnandez Vicens.

Zoe Parker is a medical school student who has been working at an internship at a center where she is constantly approached by patient Max. Max has an obsession with Zoe, even going as far as tattooing her name on his arm. To celebrate the success of the last day of the internship, Zoe goes to a party where tragedy ensues. When Max attempts to assault Zoe, a cadaver comes to life and bites Max. This leads into the first of what would become a major zombie outbreak with Zoe becoming the only survivor.

Five years have passed and since witnessing the outbreak, Zoe decides to track down a cure for the disease. Zoe’s objective is to head to an abandoned bunker to do her research with the likes of her boyfriend Baca, Baca’s brother Miguel, and others. En route to the bunker, their transportation breaks down. This leads to the group doing what it takes to get to the bunker. When they finally arrive, Zoe learns of a shocking revelation, one that could be the key to finding the cure to stop and finally end the zombie outbreak.

1985’s Day of the Dead would be the final of the original zombie trilogy from the late great George A. Romero. The film has a zombie outbreak with survivalists in a military bunker. While that film would end in a more shocking manner, this reimagining takes that story and adds some major twists and turns that prove to be vital and in fact, from a scientific point of view, brings up a possible realistic manner in terms of finding a cure for the outbreaks.

The script by Mark Tonderai and Lars Jacobsen wisely took the core elements of the original film and under the direction of Hèctor Hérnandez Vinces, successfully makes it its own entity. In the original, there are zombies who are made to be docile, notably the character of “Bub”, played by Sherman Howard. In this film, “Bub” is replaced by Max, played by Jonathan Schaech. Max is first seen a creepy fellow who has an obsession with the potential heroine Zoe, played by Sophie Skelton. However, in the scene where he is ready to assault her, he is attacked by a zombie but just when you thought Schaech was making a cameo, he proves to be the pivotal supporting character that proves to be the catalyst for Zoe to do what is necessary to accomplish her mission.

This time around, the insane military officer that thinks all zombies should be dead no matter what is the character of Miguel Salazar, played by Jeff Gum. In an interesting move, the name of the character was also used in the original film as played by Anthony DiLeo Jr. In the original, Miguel was the boyfriend of the lead character, but here the boyfriend role goes to Baca, Miguel’s younger brother, played by Marcus Vanco. Baca is a really sympathetic character and stands by Zoe, even when a small rift is imminent.

In an age where CGI is primarily used, Vinces opts to take the practical effects approach and it becomes a very smart move. This is the piece de resistance as the film does bring a true homage to the Romero classic in terms of the zombie kills. Disembowlments, bites, and just sheer gore is displayed quite well in the film. However, unlike most horror films today, there is a sense of emotion that helps complement the terror that plagues the film.

While a loose 2008 remake didn’t fare well with fans, this 2017 reimagining of Day of the Dead, does bring a sense of emotion and a somewhat realistic scientific twist to the film. If you are curious or want to see a zombie film with an actual story, this may be just for you.

WFG RATING: B+

Saban Films and Millennium Media presents a Campbell/Grobman Films in association with Nu Boyana. Director: Hèctor Hérnandez Vicens. Producers: Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, Boaz Davidson, James Glenn Dudelson, Robert Franklin Dudelson, and Jeff Rice. Writers: Mark Tonderai and Lars Jacobson; based on the 1985 film “Day of the Dead” by George A. Romero. Cinematography: Anton Ognianov. Editing: Damien Drago and Ivan Ivanov.

Cast: Sophie Skelton, Jonathan Schaech, Marcus Vanco, Jeff Gum, Mark Rhino Smith, Lillian Blakenship, Shari Watson, Lorina Kamburova, Rachel O’Meara, Cristina Serafini, Luke Cousins, Nathan Cooper, Nick Loeb, Bashar Rahal.

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Bringing Back the “Dead”: An Interview with Hèctor Hernández Vicens

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Hèctor Hernández Vicens is a Spanish-born filmmaker who got his start in television as a writer for the series El Cor de la Ciutat in 2000 and would go on to write and direct episodes of the 2007 series Pol & Cia. He made his feature film directorial debut in 2015 with The Corpse of Anna Fritz, but his latest film is sure to get a love or hate response: a reboot of the 1985 zombie classic Day of the Dead. His latest film, titled Day of the Dead: Bloodline comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on January 5 from Saban Films and Millennium Media.

World Film Geek had the opportunity to interview Vicens about making this reboot of the George A. Romero classic.

First of all, Hèctor, thank you for talking about Day of the Dead: Bloodline. I got to see the film and really enjoyed it.
Thank you for the interview and I’m happy that you liked the film.

Before we talk about the film, can you talk about how you got into filmmaking?
I’ve been working as a writer in television for about twenty years and then I started to study photography. I eventually directed my first film, The Corpse of Anna Fritz, which I also wrote the script with some interesting characters. We didn’t have much money for the film, but we made it. I wanted to finish and direct my own story because when you are able to direct your own story, you have that power and will to want to finish it, so that’s what I did. And I love movies as well, so that inspired me to direct.

What led you to do a reboot of Day of the Dead, which today is considered a classic zombie film?
Well, when I read the script, I realized it was quite different from Romero’s movie. So, it’s not exactly the same story and it’s not the same characters. And I love Romero’s movie, so I decided I didn’t want to remake it in the style of Romero because that is a classic. I decided to set it in a bunker because the bunker itself is one of the most important pieces of the film.

I wanted to bring emotion of the characters because I wanted to make a film whose philosophy was the same as Romero’s philosophy. When you share the same philosophy, it’s not just a movie. There’s the colors, the characters, the hate, the love, the friendship.

Have you been a horror film fan for a long time?
Well, I like all kinds of movies. I do like all different types of horror movies, of course. I love Romero’s trilogy (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead). I love great zombie movies and I love great horror movies.

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Jonathan Schaech on the set of Day of the Dead: Bloodline.

What was it like working with the cast?
We really enjoyed working together on the film. Jonathan [Schaech] is a great actor and to have him play a zombie is really fun and interesting because we came up with his character without really thinking that he’s not a zombie, but he thinks he’s a human. He has those human emotions. His character of Max is something who’s not completely a zombie. Yes, he needs to kill people and eat their flesh, but he hates the other zombies because they don’t have a brain. Max does have a brain, a human brain, so he is put in the worst situation. However, we created the character that allows the actor to speak from the heart and not just mimic. So, we made the character and interesting and deep zombie.

And the other characters are those you can feel for because these are people who lost their families. So, with the actors, we really worked in the sadness, the frustration, and the thought of people thinking about what happened in the past. So, we created these emotions that were demonstrated throughout the film.

Did you endure any difficulties while shooting the film?
I think the difficulty we endured the most was the timing. You always want to work through the film, work with the actors, and take your time. However, when you have a movie that is low-budget, in this case, I shot the movie in only four weeks. It’s something that is practically impossible. Especially when you have a small crew. But, the actors and the crew worked well together and we were able to pull it off. The only major issue was the timing.

Finally, are you working on any new projects that you can discuss?
I am going to work on my third film, which like The Corpse of Anna Fritz, I wrote and will direct. I will focus on the subjects and bring my style of characters and stories to life.

Do you have a message for the fans who are gearing up to see the film?
Well, I am a fan myself (laughs), so I hope there are those who will appreciate the film. There are going to be those who will say “You can’t remake a Romero film” and will probably call me a mother(censored) and I shouldn’t have done it (laughs).

I think this is a film for those who like 80’s horror films like Re-Animator, The Evil Dead, and Romero’s films. I think they will appreciate this film. People who only want action and action and not care about the characters or story, this movie isn’t for those. But, I hope most people will like the film.

I did see the original film years ago and having seen this film, I can safely say that I like both films. Your version did what you said it did, bringing a lot of drama mixed in with the horror. I like a film that has to have both the story and action combined. I don’t like focusing on one element. A good film has all those elements and this film delivers on that.
Well, thank you so much. I think to make a good horror film, you need good characters. And those characters are developed by the actors. It is the actors’ jobs to bring those characters to life and they are free to create those characters. If the movie has a philosophy as well as a subject, you can make a smart horror film. It’s not just crying and brooding. I didn’t want to do just brooding. I wanted to do a film where the characters are human.

Excellent! Well, Day of the Dead: Bloodline comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on January 5. I think anyone who liked the original or who want a good horror film with a story will enjoy this film. Thank you so much again Hèctor for talking about the film.
Thank you so much!

A Special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Hèctor Hernández Vicens for making this interview possible.

The “Dead” Returns in Red-Band “Bloodline” Trailer

The living dead returns in the red-band trailer of Day of the Dead: Bloodline.

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In this re-imagining of the 1985 classic by the late George A. Romero, a former med school student is tormented by a dark figure from her past. The only thing is, he’s a half-human, half-zombie hell-bent on destroying her world.

The film stars Jonathan Schaech, Sophie Skelton, Marcus Vanco, and Jeff Gum. The film was directed by Hèctor Hernández Vicens from a script by Mark Tonderai and Lars Jacobson.

Saban Films has announced that the film will be released in theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on January 5, 2018.

The “Day of the Dead” Rises Again in January

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The “Day” will once again rise!

Day of the Dead: Bloodline, a re-imagining of the 1985 horror hit from the late George A. Romero, will be unleashed in theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on January 5, 2018 from Saban Films.

The film is set in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-filled world where a former med school student is tormented by a dark figure from her past. The only thing is, he’s a half-human, half-zombie hell-bent on destroying her world.

The cast includes Jonathan Schaech, Sophie Skelton, Marcus Vanco, and Jeff Gum. The film was written by Mark Tonderai and Lars Jacobson with Héctor Hernández Vicens helming the film.

Saban Films will unleash Day of the Dead: Bloodline on January 5, 2018.