Do not watch this movie all alone in a big empty house.
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My son and I went to see it in the theater. He got nervous when he found out it was a zombie movie. I don't think of it as a zombie movie, it's more a pseudo-sci fi thriller with intelligence and fine acting and, oh yeah, what amount to zombies. But the scene where Will Smith discovers much to his chagrin that what we are calling zombies might still have an active brain cell or two, my son needed to leave. So we left.
He was eighteen. I suppose some dads would have pulled the ah-toughen-up bit but not me. I was cool with it and we went to B&N and got some comfort coffee. This isn't only because I love and respect my kids. When I was eighteen, nineteen, twenty, I could get mighty nervous when out in the woods and the twilight started to deepen, and the shade under the trees went deep blue, and sight was uncertain, and the utter silence more frightening than any hooting owl or snapping twig. Last thing I'm going to do is be critical of someone for having a rich imagination.
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Later took the wife for a movie-dinner date (we usually go for the matinee prices) and saw the whole thing. Thought it was pretty good. The premise is solid: A genetically engineered virus has been developed that cures cancer. Three years later we are treated to a shot of the flooded entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, jammed with long-abandoned automobiles. Will Smith is one of the very few with a natural immunity -- the zombies are people whom the virus didn't kill but instead turned into ravenous beasts. He was also the chief Army scientist working on a cure. He lives alone, continuing his work, haunted by solitude, beset with increasingly disturbing flashbacks. The flashbacks give us pretty much the entire back story.
Then shit starts to happen at an ever increasing pace.
I liked the ending. I didn't like that, upon reflection, the plot had a couple gaping holes in it. But in a movie you have to economize on plot, and I guess if you keep the action going most people won't notice.
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I got it for Father's Day and while my family was away from home this week, loaded me up some dinner and beer and sat down to watch it. Maybe when in the company of others I keep my emotions in check -- maybe when alone my emotions are closer to the surface -- for whatever reason, in this showing I cried during the crying parts, and became depressed at all the depressing parts, and got all nervous and scared during the exciting parts. It seems that a story about bloodthirsty ex-humans who can come out only at night is particularly evocative when viewed in an empty house on an otherwise uninhabited acre in a neighborhood full of silence and open space and slowly moving tree limbs after the sun has gone down. Who would have guessed that.