I love a good zombie movie. Actually, I can even enjoy a crappy zombie movie. Somehow, zombies don’t get overdone as badly as vampires did (I know some people will feel otherwise); there’s an odd “staying power” or enduring relevance to zombies– they can serve as an allegorical representation of any catastrophe, even catastrophes we didn’t think about until we saw the zombie movie.
One of the zombie movies that broke through standard “horror” film status and was evaluated as social commentary was George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” in 1978. Romero made social criticism about mindless consumerism as a zombie-like plague and in my opinion he hits paydirt. There is a certain level of irony to the 2004 remake (which I admit I also enjoyed) where the survivors are the ones that find solace in the mall’s soothing environs while the living dead are kept outside– “outside” among the masses has become the new “alien world” so perhaps it is just as pointed a social commentary but in another direction… but I fear that may be giving the creators too much credit. I think they just wanted to cash in on a cool zombie flick for some… mindless consumerism.
But if people bitten by zombies just continue to do what they did instinctively in real life, I think a modern zombie outbreak would be fairly benign, since we’d probably all just instinctively stand around and look at our cell phones and avoid each other. Take that, George Romero– I see your “social commentary” and raise it!