Day of the Dead is a horror film which is nominally a quasi-remake of George A. Romero's classic zombie film of the same name, which was the third in Romero's Dead series. The film is directed by Steve Miner (who also directed Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part III and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later) and written by Jeffrey Reddick. It was originally set for theatrical distribution, but was instead released directly to video. It received generally negative reviews.
The film was principally shot in Bulgaria, with limited shooting in Los Angeles, California. Tyler Bates provided the soundtrack, and screenwriter Jeffrey Reddick has a cameo appearance as an ill-fated police officer.
The movie begins in Leadville, Colorado. Trevor (Michael Welch) and his girlfriend, Nina (AnnaLynne McCord), are in an abandoned building with two of their friends having a romantic encounter. They leave the building to go back to their respective parents' houses. They see a long line of cars at a military roadblock sealing off the city. An angry man yells at the officers to let him through as his child is sick and needs medical care, and we learn that there has been an outbreak of some sort as medical help is needed throughout the town. They are introduced to Captain Kenneth Rhodes (Ving Rhames) and Corporal Sarah Cross (Mena Suvari). Soon after, privates Bud Crain (Stark Sands) and Salazar (Nick Cannon) show up. Cross takes Bud to go and visit her mother, who has become sick. She arrives home, talks to her brother (Trevor), checks on her mother, then goes to the house of one of Trevor's friends, Kyle, after he and Nina explain his symptoms as being similar to their mother's.
When Bud and Sarah arrive at friend's house, they find the bodies of his parents, which have appear to have been mauled and bitten by an animal and were stashed behind a curtain. Kyle is no where to be found. They radio Captain Rhodes and take Nina, Trevor, and Trevor's mom to the local hospital. There, Sarah talks to Dr. Logan (Matt Rippy) at the urging of Rhodes, while out in the waiting room all the infected have suddenly gone frozen. Bud runs to inform Sarah of the situation, when all the infected reanimate. They turn into zombie-like creatures, although unlike traditional zombies they were never dead to begin with, and possess super-human strength that allows them to run, jump long distances, and crawl on the ceiling. Nina and Trevor escape and run to the radio station while Sarah, Salazar, and Bud become trapped in an upstairs room of the hospital. After dispatching Rhodes (who was infected), the three of them (Bud now infected due to a bite from Rhodes) make a stop at the gun store then go and rescue Trevor and Nina from the radio station.
The group heads to the abandoned warehouse from the beginning of the film. Bud has turned into a zombie, but is somehow able to think and does not attack his friends. The fact that Bud was a vegetarian is given by Sarah as a reason Bud didn't attack them (a vague similarity to Bub from the original Day of the Dead). The group descend into an underground bunker, where they reunite with Dr. Logan. They learn about a government project directed by Dr. Engel (Pat Kilbane), codename Wildfire, which was meant to create a virus that can temporarily shut down the nervous system in order to defeat enemy combatants peacefully. However, the virus mutated and caused the zombie outbreak. The group pushes further into the bunker, but Dr. Engel kills Logan. Later, Salazar is devoured by a zombies as Sarah runs to Trevor and Nina. In the room tey are in, they find gas cylinders that can be used as giant flamethrowers. Sarah decided to lure the zombies into the room, and burn them with the cylinders. She eventually finds a large group of zombies, and shouts to get their attention. The zombified Dr. Engel drops down from the vents and grabs Sarah from behind. Before he can bite her, though, Bud shoots at Engel, but not killing him. These leads to Engel and the other zombies dismembering Bud. Sarah then leads the zombies to the room where Trevor and Nina are hiding, and they torch the zombies. The three escape the bunker, and begin driving off. The movie ends with a surviving zombie jumping in front of the camera in screamer fashion.
"Behind the Scenes" photos of some zombie scenes and effects have gone online. The film was also leaked in late 2007. It was not released in theaters, but was rather direct-to-video in June 2008..
Reddick, who adapted the script from Romero's original concept, has stated that this film does not have any connection to Zack Snyder's 2004 remake Dawn of the Dead. He told ComingSoon.net: "It's going to be a separate movie...We wanted to pay homage to the original with the military and the scientists and the socially relevant stuff that George Romero always does, but we wanted to put a fresh spin on it. There will be similarities, but there will be differences as well that I think fans will hopefully dig. Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2) is directing." 
Comparisons to the original
This film actually bears little resemblance to the original Day of the Dead from 1985. Similarities include the names of several characters, including Dr. Logan, Salazar, Cpt. Rhodes, and Sarah. None of these characters bears any similarity to those of Romero's original characters other than their names. One character, Bud Crain, is potentially meant to identify with Bub, the trained zombie in Romero's film. In this new version, Bud is a soldier who becomes a zombie who remains with survivors and aids them in surviving, including a scene where he shoots a gun at one of the main antagonists, just as the zombie Bub does at the conclusion of Romero's Day.
Another similarity can be found in the new film's conclusion as the survivors retreat into an underground bunker and missile silo, which is the setting for the original film. The contents of the underground bunker are, however, entirely different from the original.
The film does not follow Romero's guidelines of what a zombie is at all; instead of a mysterious and unknown force bringing people back from the dead, the 'zombies' of this film are humans infected with a virus that makes them attack uninfected humans. When the infection takes control, the individual freezes completely, as the virus fully overwhelms their body. Once changed, the infected inexplicably gain numerous open sores on their faces. Once they are infected, the zombies gain super-human abilities, such as climbing walls, running along the ceiling, and jumping very high. This is very different than Romero's "slow-moving" zombies and Zack Snyder's 2004 Dawn of the Dead's "fast" zombies which can run but at a normal speed for humans. For some reason, contact with fire causes the zombies to disintegrate instantly.
The original Day of the Dead picked up well after the first zombie outbreak; a group of scientists and army personnel believe they might be the only living people left as they have not made contact with any other survivors in weeks. This film begins as the outbreak begins, as did Zack Snyder's 2004 Dawn of the Dead's.
- Mena Suvari as Corporal Sarah Cross/Bowman
- Nick Cannon as Private Salazar
- Michael Welch as Trevor Cross/Bowman
- AnnaLynne McCord as Nina
- Stark Sands as Private Bud Crain
- Matt Rippy as Dr. Logan
- Ian McNeice as D.J. Paul
- Christa Campbell as Mrs. Leitner
- Ving Rhames as Captain Kenneth Rhodes
Sarah is refered to as (in words as well as writing) Cross during the film, but she and her brother are listed as Bowman in the credits. Rhames reprises his role from Zack Snyder's 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake.