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Like the rest of George A. Romero’s postapocalyptic Dead series, the tetralogy-completing Land of the Dead is not only a state-of-the-gore horror film but also a state-of-America satire. Past installments have evoked the civil-rights movement and Vietnam (1968’s Night of the Living Dead), poked fun at Yankee-style consumerism (1978’s Dawn of the Dead), and highlighted the out-of-control machismo of the Reagan-and-Rambo era (1985’s Day of the Dead). This time around, Romero has made a film about, he says, the “idea of living with terrorism.” Set in and around the director’s hometown of Pittsburgh (though filmed mostly in Toronto), the grisly yet humorous Land focuses on paramilitary fetch-it guy Riley (Simon Baker), a “supplies unit” commander responsible for retrieving nonperishables from the zombie-infested ’burbs. At the beginning of the movie, Riley announces that he’s soon retiring to Canada, “a place where there are no people.” However, when Riley’s second in command, Cholo (John Leguizamo), goes jihadist after being denied a spot in a World Trade Center–esque luxury community, default Mayor Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) coerces the short-timer into sticking around to save the high-rise. Riley and his two sidekicks, mentally handicapped buddy Charlie (Robert Joy) and hooker Slack (Asia Argento), are clearly the movie’s heroes. But even the terrorist stand-ins, Cholo and lead zombie Big Daddy (Eugene Clark), are treated more sympathetically than Kaufman, a man who can barely defend himself yet still barks out a steady stream of tough-guy drivel (“We don’t negotiate with terrorists!”). That Kaufman is a greedy bigot will tell you everything you need to know about Romero’s feelings toward the current administration. Land, however, is a film less about cowardice and bravery in the face of evil than about those caught in the middle: the ones who are still alive but too unlucky to live well. As social commentary goes, it’s hardly subtle. But hey, who expects nuance from the master of extreme horror? The most important thing about any shuffling-horde allegory is matching message to milieu—and in that department, Romero is just about perfect. —Brent Burton