Day of the Dead is a horror film which is remake of George A. Romero's classic zombie film of the same name, which was the third in Romero's Dead series. The film is directed by Steve Miner (who also directed Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part III and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later) and written by Jeffrey Reddick. It was originally set for theatrical distribution, but was instead released directly to video. It received generally negative reviews. The film was principally shot in Bulgaria, with limited shooting in Los Angeles, California. Tyler Bates provided the soundtrack, and screenwriter Jeffrey Reddick has a cameo appearance as an ill-fated police officer.
The movie begins in Leadville, Colorado. Trevor (Michael Welch) and his girlfriend, Nina (AnnaLynne McCord), are in an abandoned building having a romantic encounter. They then head back to their respective parents' homes. They see a long line of cars at a military roadblock sealing off the city. An angry man yells at the officers because his child is sick and needs medical care. There has been an outbreak and medical help is needed throughout town. They are introduced to Captain Rhodes (Ving Rhames) and Corporal Sarah Cross (Mena Suvari). Soon after, privates Bud Crain (Stark Sands) and Salazar (Nick Cannon) show up. Cross takes Bud to go with her while she visits her sick mother. When she arrives, Sarah talks to her brother (Trevor) and checks in on her mother. She then goes to see Trevor's friend, Kyle, after she learns his symptoms are similar to her mother's. When Bud and Sarah arrive at Kyle's house, they find the mauled bodies of his parents stashed behind a curtain, with Kyle nowhere to be found. They radio Captain Rhodes and take Nina, Trevor, and their mom to the local hospital. There, Sarah talks to Dr. Logan (Matt Rippy) at the urging of Rhodes, while out in the waiting room all the infected become catatonic. Bud runs to alert Sarah, when all the infected suddenly reanimate. They turn into zombies, although unlike the traditional creatures they do not die first but instead transform while catatonic. They have super-human strength that allows them to run, jump long distances and even crawl on the ceiling. Nina and Trevor escape, seeking refuge in the local radio station, while Sarah, Salazar and Bud become trapped in an upstairs storage room in the hospital. After dispatching the infected Rhodes, the three escape from the hospital and make a stop at the gun store before rescuing Trevor and Nina from the radio station. The group heads back to the abandoned warehouse. Bud has turned, but is somehow able to think and does not attack his friends. Sarah believes Bud doesn't attack because he was a vegetarian, but Salazar speculates that Bud is attracted to Sarah. The group finds an underground bunker, where they reunite with Dr. Logan. They learn about a government project directed by Dr. Engel (Pat Kilbane). The group explores the bunker, but Dr. Engel attacks and kills Logan. Later, Salazar is grabbed by zombies, giving Sarah a chance to escape and reunite with Trevor and Nina. In the room where they are hiding they find several large gas cylinders. Sarah decides to lure the zombies into the storeroom and burn them with the cylinders. So they start modifying the cylinders into giant flamethrowers. Sarah eventually finds a mob of zombies and shouts to get their attention. The zombified Dr. Engel drops down from the ceiling behind Sarah and grabs her. but before she is bitten zombified Bud shoots at Engel. This leads to Engel and the other zombies to attack Bud, dismembering him. Sarah then leads the zombies to the room where Trevor and Nina are hiding, and they torch the zombies. The three escape the bunker, and drive off into the night. The movie ends with a surviving zombie jumping in front of the camera in screamer fashion.