As many of you know, I'm a die-hard film purist (especially horror films) and a devotee of George Romero when it comes to zombie mythology (and there are many of those of you out there that will automatically hate me for that; hey, it's a free country).
That said, I have to relate that I was not overly impressed with this remake. Is a lot of that a preconception that any remake can't be better than the original? Not particularly, there have been a lot of remakes that I've really enjoyed, some even moreso than the originals...but never of a classic...they become classics for a REASON, after all, and NOtLD certainly fits this bill.
The story is basically the same...some of the characters have changed, fitting more into a modern setting. I was thrilled to see Barbara get her feet under her and take a strong stand in her own survival...but if you watch the original, you'll see that THAT Barbara ALSO was beginning to get her act together and fight the good fight...it just didn't work out as well for her. Ben retained his strength, and was virtually the same character. Even Savini, I believe, did an adequate job of directing, although for it to be a remake and having him at the helm, I was a bit disappointed at the special effects...just plain expected more.
I'm not saying that this is a BAD flick; I enjoyed seeing a new spin on the story, and I have to admit that it was kind of refreshing to see the old characters portrayed in new ways...after all, it's certainly safe to assume that the more jaded and fastlane folks in 1990 would react differently to the events of the film than did people that grew up in the 1950s...I did think that the character of Cooper was a bit overdone as a sordid horses ass, but I know some people in real life that act like that when there ISN'T a zombie apocalypse going on.
What I AM saying is that the original is a classic that can't be improved upon; it would be like trying to repaint the Mona Lisa with computer graphics and calling it superior because it's now in 1080 resolution whereas the original is just cracked paint on a canvas...There's nothing new going on here, no social commentary or groundbreaking that the classic had, and it would be silly to expect such (it IS a remake). Does that mean I hate this film? Not at all; I just see it for what it is: a retelling of a classic from a modern (for the times) point of view.
Just because I think the original is better doesn't make this one bad. It's worth the watch if you're a Romero or Savini fan, but don't expect the stark, gut wrenching feeling of isolation and paranoia that has come before.