Festival of the Living Dead (2024) Movie Review – George Romero’s Living Dead Universe lives on in the Gen Z era

George Romero’s Living Dead Universe lives on in the Gen Z era

The newest instalment in the classic “Living Dead” franchise of sorts is Festival of the Living Dead. On her birthday, Ash (Ashley Moore) gets the chance to go to the Festival of the Living Dead, a festival out in the woods that has a resemblance to Burning Man and many other popular secluded music festivals these days. However, Ash and her much cooler friends run into a lot of trouble when they encounter some off-putting things about the festival when, in fact, zombies roam around the event. 

Directed by The Twisted Sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska, Festival of the Living Dead has landed on Tubi as one of the many original ninety-minute or less horror movies the streamer has acquired over the last few years. All of which seem to have a formula to them; not that formula is a bad thing. Festival of the Living Dead oozes Gen Z aesthetics with the wardrobe these characters are wearing all the way down to the social media content that circulates throughout the movie.

The dilemma that takes place feels like a nice callback to any sort of YA or teen comedy of sorts. The main central character of the movie, Ash wants to go somewhere, but she has to babysit her little brother. In steps her less cool friend, Iris (Carmen Biscondova), to watch her brother so Ash can go have a dream come true. The road trip there turns south, drugs are taken, a car accident happens, and one single zombie is in the road as a warning sign to what is ahead at the festival.

The buildup is formulaic, but the festival itself is what actually hurts Festival of the Living Dead due to how clunky it kind of gets. Not many things make sense there, and that may be budgetary rather than just not being effective in its delivery. Still, it’s easy to stay long for this ride.

The festival is what makes this part of the Night of the Living Dead universe, as it is there to commemorate the events of 1968 (guess we made it out of it okay as a society?). Still, it’s a plot point that doesn’t need to overshadow the fun you can have with the zombie tropes in the movie.

George Romero would be proud of this film in the sense that what he created is still progressing forward into a new generation. The only issue here is that Night of the Living Dead, to some, is an art film, and Festival of the Living Dead does kind of come off like an oversaturated horror film that releases straight to streaming.

Still, it’s a fun entry, but a forgettable entry. Most of the Romero-made films in this world have a lot to say about society, but all Festival of the Living Dead really seems to accomplish is that kids use TikTok a lot. It’s their gift and their curse these days in terms of how this film plays out.

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  • Verdict - 5/10

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