Review: Night of the Animated Dead (2021)


Revisit George A. Romero’s 1968 horror classic in an altogether unprecedented presentation as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Night of the Animated Dead, a new, star-studded All-Star Cast Including Josh Duhamel, Dulé Hill, Katharine Isabelle, James Roday Rodriguez, Katee Sackhoff, Will Sasso, Jimmi Simpson and Nancy Travis

animated recreation of the thriller coming September 21, 2021 to Digital and October 4, 2021 to Blu-ray & DVD. The Blu-ray is exclusively available at HMV.

Presented by The Long Game in association with Hemisphere Entertainment, Night of the Animated Dead is an animated adaptation of the 1968 horror classic and includes never-before-seen, exclusive animated scenes not found in the original live-action film. 


In Night of the Animated Dead, siblings Barbara and Johnny visit their father’s grave in a remote cemetery in Pennsylvania when they are suddenly set upon by zombies. Barbara flees and takes refuge in an abandoned farmhouse along with stranded motorist Ben and four local survivors found hiding in the cellar. Together, the group must fight to stay alive against the oncoming horde of zombies while also confronting their own fears and prejudices. 


Night of the Animated Dead features the voice talents of Josh Duhamel (Jupiter’s Legacy, Transformers) as Harry Cooper, Dulé Hill (The West Wing, Psych) as Ben, Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) as Barbara, James Roday Rodriguez (A Million Little Things, Psych) as Tom, Katee Sackhoff (The Mandalorian, Battlestar Galactica) as Judy, Will Sasso (MadTV) as Sheriff McClelland, Jimmi Simpson (Westworld) as Johnny and Nancy Travis (Last Man Standing) as Helen Cooper. 


Executive Producers are Richard Potter (Diciembres), Thomas DeFeo (The Seventh Day) and Jamie Elliott (Fighting with My Family). Producers are Ralph E. Portillo, p.g.a. (Buddy Games), Robert Feldman, p.g.a. (Dr. Shroud) and Kevin Kasha (I Spit on Your Grave). Animation services were provided by Demente Animation Studio. The original Night of the Living Dead was written by George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead) and John Russo (The Majorettes, Santa Claws). Night of the Animated Dead was produced by Michael J. Luisi, p.g.a. (The Call, Oculus) and directed by Jason Axinn (To Your Last Death).


I will always praise the cast and crew involved in the making of any movie and I admire the vision behind making this movie. However in terms of entertainment I wasn’t really sold with Night of the Animated Dead. As a fan of Zombie movies I was excited by the prospect of this, potentially giving us an extended story behind the 1968 classic, but sadly it fell very short of what I had hoped for. 

The animation was below the usual standard I expect from Warner Bros having always been impressed with their other animated movies like the DC Comics Animated universe or the more recent Mortal Kombat movies. This at times felt like a kids TV cartoon rather than a feature movie. I also had similar concerns with the story which somehow failed to highlight any actual entertaining moments. The structure of this movie played out a lot more like a video game but without the interactive element to draw you into the story. This reminded me a lot of the video game The Walking Dead, which as an award winning game might sound like a compliment but unfortunately it’s not when this is supposed to be a movie.

The animation did include a grotesque amount of blood at times which gives this its mature rating but sadly that was the only part which comes close to providing shock or scares. The actual events involving Zombies felt more like a romp in a Scooby Doo movie rather than the George A. Romero universe. Some decisions made by the characters made me laugh and question why the story had been written this way at times. There are a couple of moments it felt like something would happen specifically for the audience to understand yet the characters didn’t learn from that moment. An example was when a Zombie gets shot in the head for the first time, things pause for a moment and the audience knows that’s how you kill them yet the character with the gun just continues to shoot Zombies in the stomach and other places than the head. All of that being said the movie does have quite a clever ending which was the only part I found myself connected to the story or characters so it’s worth seeing it through to the end just for that.

Night of the Animated Dead is not a great movie yet does offer an extra entry into the Zombie genre if that’s your thing and coming out just in time for Halloween it’s something a little different from the norm.

Thank you Warner Bros UK for the early review copy and use of images.

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