Night of the Living Dead is a 2018 American horror film directed by Anthony & Russo, written by Leslie Hope and starring Chadwick Boseman, Lily James, Rob Corddry, Claire Forlani, Blake Lively, Tyler Hoechlin and Derek Hough. The film is the second remake of the George A. Romero directorial debut masterpiece of the same name that subsequently kickstarted the zombie subgenre of horror films. The film is produced by Jason Blum and distributed by his production company Blumhouse. The project came about as actress/writer Hope had previously portrayed a main character in Romero's 2000 horror film Bruiser and now following his death felt it was time in alignment with Jason Blum and his rising company again restore Romero's vision. The film serves as almost a complete recreation of the original 1968 feature but adds backstory to the main characters. The film was shot in Madras, Oregon and on controlled sets at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The film was released theatrically on January 11th, 2018 and in select IMAX theatres on January 14th, 2018 to positive reception and critical acclaim also grossing above it's budget.
The film begins with the service of Thomas Blair the mayor of the small rural Oregon town of Leighton. His death the result of an awful fire and service is overlooked by his surviving kin, young adult children Barbara (Lily James) and Johnny (Derek Hough). Barbara is spends most of the service quiet and unable to process what she is in the midst of whilst her brother covers a speech and converses with all the attending guests. The service continues from the church to a private wake and as Barbara finally breaks out of her trance his body is already buried and marked by headstone at the local cemetary. Johnny and her discuss their father, the acting priest Father Whitson's monologue on death to Barbara, the fire that killed him and how their mother took off on them the year prior. Johnny swerves around Barbara's raised points and directs the conversation toward humor, remarking about zombies and how they will come to get her. The other recent burial of suicide victim Martin Lambert a local barrister soon oversees his reanimated corpse rise and attack Barbara as she proceeds back to Johnny's truck. Johnny rushes in and wrestles with the undead Martin to save Barbara and is ultimately knocked down upon a headstone and splits his head open, a screaming, frenzied Barbara pushes away Martin and tries to take a hold of Johnny's body, in his dying, profusely bleeding moments he parts his keys and Barbara rushes back to the truck. Martin puts the same brick Barbara hit him with through the driver's seat window and tries to drag her out. Barbara gets Johnny's truck started whilst trying to dial 911 and comes to side swipe a tree down the road. The truck damaged and immobile forces Barbara to abandon it and come to a nearby farmhouse, which upon entering, locking and beginning to barricade seems to be abandoned minus a decomposing corpse in the attic. Barbara armed with the largest knife in the kitchen and severely injured from the earlier attack comes to pass out in a corner still wielding the knife. By nightfall she awakens hearing noises outside and eventually headlights gleam through. An african american man Ben Jones (Chadwick Boseman) and a young couple Thomas Hampton (Tyler Hoechlin) and Judy Ridley (Blake Lively). Ben is recognised by Barbara after an immediate reaction struggle as a boxer who had been in a match with their local caucasian boxer Rhubarb Tenson. Judy a drive-thru fast food worker whose former boyfriend a drug addict who would physically abuse her and Tom a roof tiler whose father would hit her mother and who is very protective of Judy who he had began seeing on the side. From the cellar emerges a local salesman Harry Cooper (Rob Corddry) and his wife Helen (Claire Forlani) who are overseeing their sick daughter Karen (Zoe Blakeley). As the group surives an oncoming zombie raid Barbara begins to recall the memory of her mother's murder by her father a year prior as she been discovered to be having an affair and the following memory of the fire that claimed his life arson done by her brother Johnny. Following this attack a terrified Harry proposes a run for it and those who do can go get help, Ben an orphan growing is enraged by Harry's suggestion and tells them all to stay together and button down. As Barbara's earlier wounds are treated by Judy who reveals herself a nursing student Karen's condition downstairs worsens. Thomas and Judy eventually upstairs in the homeowners talk over their backstories and have sex, Following which Harry approaches the two and convinces them to go along with him to Ben's truck outside, the two agree and make a run from the backdoor after from upstairs Harry discards molotov cocktails. Barbara becomes petrified by fire and trapped as it spreads around the downstairs living room and Ben trying to calm her fails to reclaim the escaping Harry, Tom and Judy. The tree using a farm gasoline pump ward off the oncoming horde of undead that had since come to the farmhouse and Tom and Judy make it to Ben's truck whilst Harry gets caught behind. The zombies close in on Tom and Judy at the truck as it is starting and as it is damaged and he is able to ward them off with a fire informs Judy they must return to the house. Judy however is injured and becomes stuck by the seat, Tom's fire hits the gasoline pump and then engulfs the truck a shocked Tom just looks at a saddened Judy as the truck is engulfed in flames. The explosion propels enough undead away from Harry so Ben can bring him back to the house. Inside Ben punches Harry multiple times for what he has done and costing the lives of Tom and Judy. Tom and Judy's charred, dismembered remains are salvaged from the truck wreckage by the zombies and eaten. Helen finally emerges from the cellar again announcing the death of Karen. As Harry and Helen talk over Karen Barbara overhears the conversation as it raises the point of their forthcoming divorce and how in what fortunately turned out to be a minor car accident two years ago, a trapped Helen and Karen were abandoned by a cowardly Harry. Harry reveals from a history of bullying by others and a drunken father who did not attempt to save him from drowning as a child he has always taken flight in instances of conflict. Harry also reveals his almost affair with a prostitute. Helen tells how she has fallen in love with another man anyway who if by miracle is alive when she escapes she can be with, and after the loss of her daughter there is nothing more than their situation that keeps her tied to him. Harry lashes out at Helen and the two are seperated by Barbara and Ben. The undead Martin from the beginning makes is able to finally break in from a back room of the house and he comes to attack Helen in the downstairs kitchen as Harry watches determined to let her die by it's hands and then announce it's presence to Barbara and Ben after. Barbara however happens upon the scene and saves Helen as beats the Martin zombie to death with the broken end of the kitchen table. Before a struggling for air Helen can tell of Harry's action Ben shoots him to the shock of Barbara and he collapses down into the cellar. As the attack continues Ben tells Barbara and Helen to get down to the cellar, Barbara however in the process of rebarricading Martin's entrypoint leaves Helen to go down by herself to begin with where she happens upon the horrific site of a reanimated Karen eating Harry's ripped off arm. Helen tries to slowly return to the stairs and escape but as Karen takes notice of her Helen falls and hits her head upon the platform. Karen then descends upon her with a cellar trowel and stabs her death feasting upon her. Upstairs the horde of undead begin to break through and a zombie Johnny appears before Barbara, they struggle and Barbara kills him via immolation which she takes some enjoyment in as well as sadness. A now broken Barbara with Ben fleeing to the cellar discovers the zombie Karen cannibalising her mother's corpse and Ben armed with the rifle is instructed by Barbara to kill Karen. Ben prepares to but wounded and shocked over Barbara's now cold nature and the killing of a child finds himself unable to forcing Barbara to take the gun and instantly shoot Karen. Harry and Helen then reanimate Harry shot by Barbara and Helen who has the drop on Barbara shot by Ben who confiscates the gun from her. Setting a diversion for the oncoming horde realising it is too late to barricade themselves in the cellar and there is no escape from that point lure them down set a small fire retreat upstairs having hidden under the stairs. Thinking they have escaped the entire horde the two open the front door to make a run for it and the remaining fraction of the horde await seizing Barbara and dragging her away to her death.
A mortified Ben is able to with the remaining rifle kill the returning horde that reemerge from the cellar and then tries to limp out the backdoor as the remaining zombies are killing Barbara. Several men arrive all of a sudden and kill all remaining undead. Ben seeing rescue by their hands comes back towards the front door but of racism and fear he could be infected they shoot at him, one bullet piercing his leg. Ben lies upon the floor broken and crying as all of a sudden the reanimated corpse of Barbara reenters the farmhouse, They exchange looks and instead of Barbara attacking Ben she surprises and kills the oncoming attackers. Ben crawls his way to one of the men's trucks and drives away.
- Chadwick Boseman as Benjamin "Bombard" Jones
- Lily James as Barbara Blair
- Rob Corddry as Harrison Cooper
- Claire Forlani as Helen Cooper
- Tyler Hoechlin as Thomas Hampton
- Blake Lively as Judy Ridley
- Derek Hough as Johnathan "Johnny" Blair
- Zoe Blakeley as Karen Cooper
- William Fichtner as Thomas Blair
- Kim Cattrall as Samantha Blair
- Wyatt Russell as Abel Channing
- Bill Irwin as Lionel Hampton
- Madeleine Stowe as Gabrielle Hampton
- Jon Bernthal as Rhubarb Tenson
- Timothy Hutton as Martin Lambert