When I began watching the 1990 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake again (I had seen it a long time ago) I remembered my original take was that it was a decent but pointless film, given how much I love and respect the original 1968 version. Having seen it for a second time now, years later, my opinion has changed. It is a more than respectable remake of a classic movie, but one with a twist. In the original, the character of Barbara, the young woman traumatized by the death of her brother at the hands of a zombie in a cemetery, was a basket case. In the remake, the new Barbara quickly compartmentalizes her feelings and deals with the issue at hand - how to survive in a world full of flesh-eating dead people. While everyone fights around her in the small house where several still-living humans have taken refuge, Barbara takes command. This one change from the original story allows the remake to stand on its own as a more than respectable, near-classic zombie film. The rest of the original characters remain the same. Ben is the take charge guy, Mr. Cooper is the cowardly loudmouth, etc. but the change in Barbara's demeanor is enough to keep up on our toes, wondering if she will be able to keep it all together throughout the film or go over the edge somewhere and lose it all.
Given that splatter-makeup master Tom Savini directed this film for George Romero, the film is surprisingly light on gore, while retaining all the claustrophobic atmosphere of the original. The two leads - Tony Todd as Ben and Patricia Tillman as Barbara - sell this film with their solid performances, though nobody in the rest of the cast can be singled out for doing anything less that a good job. That includes Tom Towles as Mr. Cooper, who does a great job as the loudmouth despite some of the stupid dialogue he is given to spout.
Even if you are a fan of the original, give this version a chance. It may not top the original, but it holds its own against any good zombie movie and is head and shoulders above such later entries as DIARY OF THE DEAD and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. - JB
IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR CLASSIC MOVIE QUOTES
"They're coming to get you, Barbara."