The Night of the Living Dead: A Crazy Day in the Farmhouse

Film Critique Essay Introduction

By the 1960s, a so-called patriarchal nuclear family began to lose its credibility as inner tension caused by a set of socioeconomic reasons showed the imperfectness of such a union. For Hollywood always strived to reflect current collective fears and anxiety, George A. Romero presented a critique of the American family, one of the topics of his directorial debut. Family problems depicted in Night of the Living Dead make the plot quite obvious. It gives one the opportunity to consider the movie as an early example of critical commentary on the nuclear family and to analyze the author’s attitude to this phenomenon in the light of the American mores of that time.

 

Film Critique Essay Body Paragraphs

Inasmuch as the 1960s were the period of the Vietnam War, the crisis of the nuclear family evolved along with general disillusionment with the authority/government. Film critic Robin Wood called a patriarchal family “the institution whereby authority/domination structures are transmitted,” which became a part of big American disillusionment (Wood 461). In an interview with Alan Jones, Romero did confess that he meant something like this, because filmmakers in the sixties “were always into raps about the implication and the meaning,” so it was not a surprise that “some of that crept in” (Jones 118).

Plot twists indicate that a traditional family restricts people. It is not difficult to notice that almost all the characters of the film die because of their attachments to their family members. For example, in the opening scene of the movie, a brother and a sister drive to a country graveyard to honor a dead father. Neither of them cares about him. They look estranged, and as one can understand, there is no respectful attitude between generations in their family. An attack of a zombie forces Johnny to stop behaving like a child and to try to defend his sister. He dies, and later Barbra dies as well just because car keys needed to escape stays in her brother’s pocket. It is clear that both are doomed simply because they are the family.

The death of the siblings looks inevitable for several reasons. First, though none of them wants that journey, their mother’s folly leads them to the dangerous place where they meet a zombie. Second, Johnny cannot run away because he feels responsible for his sister’s life. Third, he is the person who finally takes her life. Being a new member of the zombie horde, Johnny takes her from the house and devours. The girl cannot resist because the fact that her brother becomes a zombie totally stuns her.

All these things look like one big misfortune, but even showing it in a form of a deadly coincidence, the author definitely makes the audience think that Barbra and her brother could stay alive if they were not members of a dysfunctional family. As Wood remarks, the film is “paralleling the zombies and the authorities as equally mindless and destructive” (Wood 461). Therefore, authorities are to be blamed for deepening family tension to a fatal level, albeit in a normal situation, these problems are not as deadly.

The movie shows the story of another family with the dominative structure in even a sharper way. Harry and Helen hide in the cellar with their daughter. Harry is a selfish, opinionated, coward man who strives to control everything. His wife does not love him anymore, perhaps because of his psychotic temper and tendency to use his fists as an argument every time somebody does not agree with him. Even the fact that their daughter Karen is bitten by a zombie cannot convince him to try to get her to the hospital.

As for Helen, she just obeys (which looks very similar to Barbra’s inability to do anything to handle the dangerous situation) until her stupid husband’s actions lead the entire family to death. The patriarch is obviously unable to protect his family in a difficult situation. His actions and stupid decisions not only take his life but also leave Helen with no chance to save herself. When Karen becomes a zombie, she kills her mother. They all could stay alive if Helen divorced Harry a long time ago as she wanted to do. Alas, in the 1960s, it was not a popular option. The fact that the girl devours her injured father may suggest that the young generation is always ready to punish their patriarchs who are not able to protect it.

Client's Review

"I've been using Exclusive Paper for years, mostly for editing. After a few orders, you know how they work and I gotta say I am always happy with what they offer. You guys are my best friends."

reviewed Exclusive-Paper.com on December 14, 2017, via SiteJabberClick to see the original review on an external website.

Film Critique Essay Summary

It is evident that the family tension may be a big problem, but a dysfunctional family living under the pressure of the dysfunctional authorities totally fails to survive in times of crisis. George Romero does not give an explanation of what kind of family is more productive in his opinion; he just opens the public discussion. Nowadays, different forms of the American family are introduced, and there are many movies that criticize the traditional attitude to a nuclear family as the best one. Therefore, being a very famous film, Night of the Living Dead can be regarded as an eloquent critical commentary on the American traditional family of the 60s.

Film Critique Paper Writing Help

Our Benefits
  • 300 words/page
  • Papers written from scratch
  • Relevant and up-to-date sources
  • Fully referenced materials
  • Attractive discount system
  • Strict confidentiality
  • 24/7 customer support
We offer for Free
  • Free Title page
  • Free Bibliography list
  • Free Revision (within two days)
  • Free Prompt delivery
  • Free Plagiarism report (on request)
scroll to top call us
live-chat-button
Chat with Support