The Zombie genre of movies is dead, was reanimated, and subsequently shot in the head with a .44 caliber bullet. Hear me out.
I've just concluded a viewing of "Dead Set," A BBC miniseries about another zombie outbreak in the UK during an episode of Big Brother and the trials of the cast of the show after the standard Apocalypse. Culture satirist and star of Screenwipes Charlie Brooker wrote this series, and I assure you if you've never seen Screenwipes, you need to get some Youtubes and watch them.
In a brief plot synopsis, someone becomes a zombie for whatever reason and is brought to the scene of Big Brother where hundreds of people gather to see the most annoying Irish woman in the history of the multiverse evicted from the house. In US reality show terms, the Tribe has Spoken etc. etc. I don't watch reality TV anyway. It's huge in Britain, though.
Personally I think the show was a clever ploy to get people used to the ridiculous amounts of CCTV cameras in London these days.
Anyway, there's lots of zombies and much of the plot involves the gang surviving. Kelly, an intern working for the show, breaks into the Big Brother house and acts as an ipso facto leader trying to reconnect with her boyfriend Rick who ended up a number of miles away. It's a condensed situation of the mall in either Dawn of the Dead movies.
There's a shit-ton of violence here. Gallons of blood, eating of flesh, pulling of intestines, and everything you want from a zombie movie. And that's fine, and it's to be expected of a zombie flick.
But beyond that, this is purely a by-the-numbers zombie movie, and that's where it runs into troubles. Everyone you expect to die dies, and most of the show is a purely paint-by-numbers zombie film. I applaud Brooker for his skill in dialogue, but the plot is tired.
And that's where we run into the wall of furious rehashed bullshit. Dawn of the Dead was a scathing satire of contemporary culture. Romero's overall point was to expose people to the crass consumerism of the time as people instinctually returned to the Mall, even after death. And it's the same thing here. The zombies return to the Big Brother set out of instinct, and this point is beaten over the head a number of times over the course of the show. There is no subtext or subtlety; several characters within the show point this fact out explicitly.
And perhaps this was done on purpose by Charlie Brooker, but I don't know. I think this movie/show, along with the remake of Dawn of the Dead and the loathsome straight-to-DVD Day of the Dead remake, have taken the zombie genre to its logical conclusion.
George Romero's original point was to put up a mirror to culture, and to tell us that they're coming for us, Barbara. But malls are slowly dying thanks to the internet and superstores like Wal-Mart, and the only mass gathering of people involves reality shows like Big Brother and American Idol (Pop Idol in the UK). Dead Set has cleaned this out. Mass gatherings are dying because of the individual culture of the US and the ability for people to connect over the internet without actual interaction. The biggest fear reaction from zombie movies is seeing the obscene hordes of undead, and it's become rare in this day and age. There's less need to have a huge congregation thanks to the internet, so the fear has subsided somewhat.
I have two hopes for the zombie genre. 1) Incorporate the Internet into the Zombie outbreak. Kind of like Halloween 3: Season of the Witch minus the masks and the maggots. Or 2) Make sure that the current movie adaptation of World War Z knocks that shit out of the park, and for fuck's sake let Mark Hamill reprise his role as Capt. Todd Wainio during the Battle of Yonkers as he did in the audiobook. I love zombies, and I don't want them to go out like this.