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article imageReview: 'Night of the Living Dead VR' is a must-experience for fans Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Nov 28, 2019 in Entertainment
The “Night of the Living Dead VR” experience provides fans the opportunity to visit the classic film set, explore its contents, take out zombies and do a little learning.
George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is a horror classic. In addition to being a poignant commentary on racial relations in America, it is also audience’s first introduction to the modern day zombie… even if no one in the movie ever says that word. Having seen the movie countless times, there are elements — dialogue, scenes, set decoration, specific zombies — that stand out in one’s memories of the film. But until now, viewers’ only connection to the narrative was via the one-dimensional, moving picture screen on which it played. However, with the help of some technological advancements, that is changing.
“Night of the Living Dead VR” was created in partnership between Toronto-based Pyramid Attack and Hollywood Suite, which is releasing a Night of the Living Dead documentary in early 2020 titled Raising the Dead: A Re-Examining of Night of the Living Dead. The program is more of a 360-degree experience than a game, though it does include a task and shooter element. Opening in the car ride past the cemetery to the fateful Pennsylvania farmhouse, the radio announcer warns of violent attacks by the undead and provides instructions on how to best stay alive — pay attention because these are actually hints to guide you through the next scene. Materializing in the farmhouse, you then have the option of boarding up the vulnerable window with boards scattered around the home, exploring some of the neat straight-from-the-movie elements or shooting some zombies.
Boarding up the windows is fairly straightforward, though depending on the calibrated height of the system, could be a little tricky. Likewise, picking up the one-shot rifle leaning against the window launches wave-after-wave of zombies inspired by some of the undead from the film. They drop with a less-than-precise headshot, but it can provide a few minutes of amusement. When you’re done, you can simply allow yourself to be eaten or exit that mode. However, the key to this experience is the detail.
Designers painstakingly recreated the farmhouse, including wall décor, furniture and items that had significance in the movie. Both the television and radio broadcast bulletins are sampled directly from the film, while the record player plays an original score inspired by the movie to enhance the eerie atmosphere. Users can also interact with the music box Barbara finds and the telephone, as well as peek outside to see who’s knocking at the door. Finally, putting on Romero’s eyeglasses gives the picture a grainier, more aged appearance.
Once done taking in the sights, it’s time to go down to the cellar. Here a projector plays clips from the upcoming documentary on a portable pull out screen. There are five to choose from with subjects including the film’s impact, the invention of the modern zombie and interviews with the actors.
It took Pyramid Attack approximately six months to complete the VR experience with much of that time being used to ensure they recreated the farmhouse in as much detail as possible. One of their cleverest choices was doing it all in black and white like the original film as it does more to authenticate the experience and will endear fans. It made its world premiere at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival and is available for free download on Oculus.
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