2013-2014 Commentary — 04 December 2013
“The Walking Dead” redefines zombie horror

By Julie Cheam

After spending an hour of my usual homework time watching episodes from the ongoing Season 4 of hit zombie show “The Walking Dead,” I sat there in shock and awe. There was so much going on that I was nearly grappling onto the edge of my office chair. Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), for whom many viewers fall head over heels, heads over to a supermarket with other survivors and the unexpected happens. Who knew that zombies would come crashing from the ceiling?! There was a feeling of excitement and fear, as though I was actually standing there watching this all happen. “The Walking Dead” is truly miraculous when it comes to grabbing the viewer’s attention.

There have been three seasons of “The Walking Dead” thus far, and people who are fans of the show may perhaps be growing tired of the zombie cliches. Zombie movies and shows are bound to show someone being torn apart or eaten like animals. However, I believe that “The Walking Dead” offers more than just cliches.

“The Walking Dead” presents a mental struggle with the mentality and a fight against man itself. This isn’t what many would expect from zombie movies. It is a combination of the greatest zombie movies such as “Resident Evil” and “Night of the Living Dead” (along with the sequels that follow), yet it is still different and unique.

Allow me to begin by saying this: “The Walking Dead” is a change in zombie based movies and shows. While survivors are busy trying to fend off zombies, they are scarred mentally. Viewers are holding onto the edge of their seats as we observe the different characters who are introduced and how their attitudes may differ from each other. We learn to live with these characters and love or hate them. We either crave their deaths or wish for them to continue to live; “The Walking Dead” connects to its viewers personally as well.

It also displays the ideal survival methods and steps that should be taken if a zombie apocalypse were to happen (besides the usual run, hide, and kill method that most zombie movies display). In most shows, characters have a Plan B or Plan C, but “The Walking Dead” shows what may occur if no other plan exists. Rather than being extremely organized, the survivors head off to wherever the road takes them. Most zombie movies have a certain place where characters are destined to survive or die; “The Walking Dead” shows that sometimes, survivors of a zombie apocalypse must go wherever the wind takes them.

Zombie movies usually consist of humans killing zombies until, somehow, a SWAT team or the army is able to bring them to safety. However in “The Walking Dead,” the army is nowhere to be found or if they are found, unfortunately, they are already dead. There is a large tension between the main protagonist, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and the Governor (David Morissey) whom he encounters later in “The Walking Dead” series. With no army for guaranteed protection, it is man against himself.

If you’re not a big fan of fast-paced shows,”The Walking Dead” might not be the best recommendation. It is necessary to watch each and every episode to understand the upcoming episodes.  Though each episode provides a short recap of the last episode, there are many significant parts beyond what is shown. Think of the show as a novel. You won’t be able to fully understand the story if you just read the last few lines.

Overall, the much-hyped “Walking Dead” has caught the eyes of many zombie apocalypse movie viewers. I admit that I have learned lessons from “The Walking Dead” that I was not able to catch on when watching other movies, such as the necessity of keeping the mental self as healthy as the physical self.

If you’re a fan of zombies murdering humans without mercy, feel free to watch–with discretion since “The Walking Dead” is rated R. If you’re the type of viewer who dislikes the thought of a zombie tearing off someone’s head, I insist that you don’t watch this series.

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