incomplete treatments are still treatments

by tccorbett

honeybadger don’t care, somebody buy me, make me an offer…

Day of the Dead (remake 2024)

A doctor is on a flight back from Washington D.C. and a gruesome montage at the beginning of cattle cut in half still moving and other grotesque scenes shows that he is one of the doctors studying the sino-russian satellite debris that has given off tremendous amounts of radiation and made hundreds in a small border town near Maryland and Pennsylvania deathly ill within hours of exposure. 

Because the illness remains so mysterious it has been fast-tracked for the 24/7 news cycle, the press room for the Potus and Congressional hearings within 48 hours of the crash…. Almost as a spoof of our inflammatory, “Don’t Look Up”, media culture.   

(These are the scenes and footage shown on the television in Night of the Living Dead)

At the airport in LA the doctor cuts his hand getting his baggage.  It’s a small cut, so he doesn’t bother with it, but it has already been suggested that he is infected.  At an airport shop he browses among toys and souvenirs, and we are introduced to the family from NOTLD, catching a connecting flight and talking about driving into the country to see the woman’s mother.  The man berates her, while spoiling the daughter and talking bad to the girl about her mother.  The girl laughs as the doctor accidentally bumps into her and with mouth and eyes wide open it is suggested that she has just become infected. 

The man dozes off in traffic, takes a few pills and then plays video games in his messy house with friends until late into the night. His friends are apparently unphased by the news of the impending threat and strict lockdowns with curfews occurring in the DC area and along the northeast.  One man mentions he has to go pick up his roommate at the hospital who got in a bar fight, but three hours later, just before dawn when the doctor shambles to bed, his friend still has not signed back into the game. 

The next morning, several friends are still signed in, but a few characters are just standing around like they have been abandoned.  He forgets his phone sitting on the night stand that has several missing calls and texts. Next to it are a woman’s burgundy crumpled panties with little black hearts and a note on top written in red cursive, likely from many days ago.  Doc doesn’t notice, or care, he is late. 

The office is high tech and resembles a basic bio-medical building, but a second gate controlled parking level goes down to reveal a secure underground facility with additional parking and clearance. 

Doc makes his hellos and goes through several security stations, the last is a decontamination spray that tells him he has a cut on his hand. 

Inside this last station is a vast network of offices and corridors that with elevators we presume goes even further down. 

An Asian, young male, intern looks up from a microscope when he enters a lab area.  A woman, blonde with a pony tail and goggles comes in. 

Doc is not supposed to be there, but back in DC under quarantine.  People are infected in different ways.  Not everyone gets sick.  Not everyone that gets sick becomes a zombie.  But of course they find out the hard way. 

By the time Susan goes out for lunch, saying they will likely all be under lockdown for a while and it might be a while before they can get take out again, the lab is crowded. 

Everyone is disappointed to hear that there are full scale riots out east and in DC.  And the lockdowns have failed. 

Some of the security officers, which comprise most of the extra personnel now inside the lab are spreading rumors that something worse is going on.  And agencies in CA above and beyond the usual lockdown, quarantine routine have already been put on high alert. 

Doc confirms that this could potentially be much worse than what they’ve seen before, but they can’t do anything without samples to study, which are still classified and back east. 

Susan returns and says people are already panic buying and cleaning out the stores and the ‘crazies’ are coming out for the last hoorah.  Doc starts getting sick.  Several of the security guards start getting sick but say it just feels like COVID.  For safety the inner lab and lower levels are placed on the strongest lockdown.  Susan hides her sandwhich inside the lab fridge, where DJ (asian dude) also hides his old sushi. 

No one will be able to enter the lowest levels for twenty-four hours without overriding the system. 

No one will be able to leave the facility for twelve hours, or until the lockdown is released by one of less than twenty ranking doctors including Doc and Susan pony tail. 

When security and parking attendants start becoming zombies the others beg to be let into the inner and lower levels.  At first they are all refused.  But trying to help them and administer medical care Susan is attacked, has her hand crushed and is nearly scalped, before Doc and DJ save her and allow several others in. 

As personnel get sicker and weaker, staff and main characters watch on cameras, televisions and through their devices, local LA, the nation and the world descend into a violent, nightmarish and murderous chaos.  After twenty-four hours, most cell signals no longer work and the news, they decide, for riot control is somehow being uniformly produced on every channel. Fox is off the air and all major social media is inaccessible.  

It’s established that the zombies are super strong, because they feel no pain or muscle pressure.  They can exert five to ten times their normal muscle, bite or grip pressure (on average about 800lbs). They have some random robotic like memory from their previous lives, but they don’t recognize people or have emotions or any real sensory or perception.  A major key signature of this living dead movie is a return to the fear of the slow zombie.  Where fast zombies are more ‘fear of the beast’ some might say that’s inappropriate for zombies, they are dead.  They are not beasts, classically.  Slow zombies are more, fear of the darkness and fear of death itself.  Death most often is slow, but it is crushing, stalking, relentlessly strong and in a way, all powerful in its motive and intent.  It’s not safe at all to approach these zombies in hand to hand combat.  If they grab you they will inflict immediate pressure pain of an almost mechanical, robotic vice grip.  You are not getting away without a lot of help.  This is where we get the more gruesome, blood spurting bites.  When they bite, occasionally they can and will bite through softer parts of the skull and softer, smaller bones, like fingers.  They can break through almost any glass, cuts and their own flesh wounds obviously do not deter them.  They will beat down anything not made of concrete: wood, glass, steel, doors, walls, until their own arms, noses and faces have been worn down to limp, boneless, sacks and strings of flesh hanging at their sides.  They will beat at gates and steel structures until their hands and forearms are pulp rags.   And leave heavy dents and impressions in the hard wood and steal.  They can and do breach hard defenses, old, weak concrete, barbed wire, basements with weak, rusty small bars across the doors, after just a few hours, if there enough of them.  We hear this on the radio in the lab, as one after another, shelters fall and people who think they are safe inside bunkers, are not. 

The staff begins to divide into two conflicting groups.  Those who want to stay above ground and study the zombies and virus for a cure or vaccine, even though they have seen that the hoard is capable of breaching the main level’s security features, doors and glass and even the elevator shaft (which was amplifying and echoing human voices from below) and those who want to go as far and deep into the lab as they can, where they know they will be safe once they are in physical lockdown and wait possibly weeks or months for a rescue that may never come, with the living dead still all around them if they run out of resources and have to try and escape.   

This is midpoint to third act of the film… in NOTLD where we hear the radio and tv broadcast about the dead coming back to life and murdering the living and in some cases eating the flesh.  (all cases).  They have to be shot in the head, and that the bodies have to be burnt.  It is Doc giving an official CDC broadcast and monologue from within the infected and swarmed LA CDC underground lab, and one of his last scenes before turning. 

The lowest three levels of the lab are reminiscent of resident evil and were built to withstand nuclear warfare and biological warfare, and their aftermath and to securely house about 20 medical workers and doctors indefinitely (about ten years).  But no one can just leave the facility until and unless they are actually rescued, meaning from an engineering standpoint those within the vault are expected to eventually die in the vault.  But the few who know this do not share it with the rest until the majority decides to take shelter from the hoard above.  Maria a latino parking attendant says, “who knows, in ten years they will have machines that can come and dig them out”  naively, but hopefully.  Anything is better than being eaten alive. 

One scene involves the Asian dude making sushi out of his friend because they would often have and talk about sushi together and remembering to share or not share what was left in the fridge.  This is evidence of rote, performance memory in the zombies.  And a neat gag.  Those who want to study them argue that all variables are important for study as any one could lead to pathways for a vaccine, including behavioral variables… which is true (polio, rabies, etc). 

In the end with Susan not being symptomatic, but secretly pregnant, the survivors decide that Doc only turned after he was bitten trying to protect Susan and then DJ (asian dude).  So a motley crue of doctors, lab workers, interns, technicians, security officers and parking attendants decide to hold up in the underground bunker, leaving the hundred or so zombies still in the facility above them.  But it’s tricky because they have to break the system and then restart it to let them in before it purges and burns out everything inside and below them, which of course involves getting through other zombies and more danger. 

Seven months later, Susan dreams of being on a beach with Doc (probably the father), trying to fight off a zombie version of himself in a comedic spoof, to ‘win the girl’.    

She wakes up sweating next to a parking attendant who has become her girlfriend and notices her water has broke.  One of the other doctors in the group helps them walk down a long dimly lit corridor to the medical station, waking up others on the same floor.  At a workstation, 13 days are x’d off until their next check in with the CDC war time operations network.

On the monitors inside the room the hoard of zombies above has smashed and broken up everything above them and left deep dents in heavy, thick steel doors.  Baby George/Jorge his latino step-mom girlfriend argues, is born and cries as the group sing happy birthday and blow into kazoos, one of the technicians presses a button that unleashes multiple sprays of riot control foam all over the zombies, including Doc and DJ.    

The end.

Post Credits Montage: 

Security Camera Footage shows Susan, Maria and crew escaping the lab when Jorge is about three years old and Susan is obviously pregnant with another baby.  They get into a helicopter on the roof of the lab and fly away. 

The next footage is another birthday party inside a large botanical, biodome with trees and a waterfall in the distance.  Susan and Maria are singing over a lighted cake with a two or three year old girl standing next to a boy, Jorge, a few years older.  Skip to the children are running and playing.  Two large, strange figures in full body jump/burn suits with control devices on their heads are slowly walking around crushing large red balloons between their open palms.  Children are running around gathering candy and toys that have fallen out of the balloons onto the grass.  Still at the table is Jorge and a few of the older children with game controllers in hand, obviously controlling the direction and actions of the zombies inside the full body coverings (re Psycho Goreman). 

copyright May 2022 th0masc0rb3tt

all rights reserved