The third of writer/director George A Romero's "Living Dead" trilogy benefits from a far larger budget than its predecessors, but suffers from a story as malnourished as the zombies that are chewing it up.
The walking dead have now taken over the world and only small pockets of human resistance survive. The motley crew that this movie concentrates on run the risk of destroying themselves even before the undead can get to them. They consist of a handful of scientists and soldiers holed up in a 14-mile long underground missile silo. While the scientists experiment on the zombies to try and find a way to control them, the soldiers become increasingly impatient with the lack of results.
This tension spills into violence that is only overshadowed by the zombie slaughter that surrounds them. In creating the special effects that illustrate these aberrations, Tom Savini hits a grotesque career high. Flesh tears, bones snap, guts spill, and limbs rot faster than the viewer can spew. It's remarkably well done, and a little sobering when you realise that Savini's background as a Vietnam War photographer adds the sickening blemish of reality to these audience-pleasing shocks.
The utterly scary setting of a seemingly endless series of underground caverns add tension that's well exploited towards the end of the movie. It's just a shame that it's hard to care for the unsympathetic main characters battling for survival, unlike the far more interesting protagonists of "Dawn of the Dead". That film had a healthy streak of fun and escapism, which this overly grim sequel lacks.
The trilogy began with the 1968 film "Night of the Living Dead".