Zack Snyder may be best known for his mega blockbuster CGI-heavy superhero movies, but the successful director’s latest upcoming movie, Army of the Dead, is returning him to his rotting roots.
You may remember Snyder’s 2004 film Dawn of the Dead where he worked with zombie godfather George A. Romero to create what has been said is a spiritual remake of the original from 1978. The movie was generally well-received by zombie fans, but didn’t make much of an impact beyond that. Snyder didn’t really get his director wings until two years later with 300, and three more years after that with Watchmen.
But Snyder’s return to the zombie genre could mean really great things for all of us zombie fans. Army of the Dead‘s premise revolves around a group of mercenaries planning a risky heist in a quarantined Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak. It will star Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Dave Bautista, Churchill‘s Ella Purnell, Sons of Anarchy‘s Theo Rossi, and Fear the Walking Dead‘s Garret Dillahunt.
While the upcoming Netflix movie was originally announced way back in 2008, the franchise has recently been updated to expand to an additional prequel film and an anime TV series entitled Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas that serves as an origin story for Bautista’s character.
Since Garret Dillahunt is also a big part of The Walking Dead spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, a recent interview revealed a comparison between the two. “Yeah. It’s real different,” Dillahunt told Joblo.com. “I’m excited to see it too. To have different ideas about zombies, which is refreshing, I think, in a lot of ways. And I know I have to keep this so vague. I’m sorry. I didn’t know one of the things coming out now. Sometime next year. But they strayed away from a lot of normal zombie canon, that for some reason, everyone adheres to. And you’re like, ‘Maybe they don’t have to be that way. What if they were this way?’ ‘Oh, that’s a nice wrinkle.’ Zombies are scary. I’ll tell you that. Zombies are really fast and scary.”
Well, yes, unless they’re not. The original George Romero version of the undead included lumbering and shambling zombies, which didn’t make them quite as scary as the 28-Days-Later variety that scared the bejesus out of us in 2002. But the issue of preferred zombie speed can fracture communities and dismantle friendships faster than a 2020 political debate.
Enter the Syfy channel’s Day of the Dead. This upcoming 10-episode series seems to be more of a young-adult drama set in a zombie universe that is (loosely?) based on George Romero’s 1985 classic. It will star Keenan Tracey, Daniel Doheny, and Natalie Malaika, and will be directed by veteran horror filmmaker Steven Kostanski.
While there isn’t a ton of info out on this project yet, we do know that it will involve the story of six strangers who try to survive the first 24 hours of a zombie outbreak. Day of the Dead started filming in Vancouver recently and has no projected release date yet.
Certainly two big projects don’t equal a complete revival of the zombie genre, but 2019 and 2020 have already seen a great deal of undead attention with films like Train to Busan 2: Peninsula, Dead Earth, #Alive, Alone, Zombieland: Double Tap, and TV shows like The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Daybreak, and Black Summer.
Want to see what’s coming in the zombie genre for 2021 and beyond? Check out our complete (and updated) list of upcoming zombie movies here.