Film: Dawn of the Dead

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Film:

Dawn of the Dead

Director: Zack Snyder
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Universal Studios

Are you ready to get down with the sickness? Movie logic dictates that you shouldn’t remake a classic, but Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead defies that logic and comes up a winner. You could argue that George A. Romero’s 1978 original was sacred ground for horror buffs, but it was a low-budget classic, and Snyder’s action-packed upgrade benefits from the same manic pacing that energized Romero’s continuing zombie saga. Romero’s indictment of mega-mall commercialism is lost (it’s arguably outmoded anyway), so Snyder and screenwriter James Gunn…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Are you ready to get down with the sickness? Movie logic dictates that you shouldn’t remake a classic, but Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead defies that logic and comes up a winner. You could argue that George A. Romero’s 1978 original was sacred ground for horror buffs, but it was a low-budget classic, and Snyder’s action-packed upgrade benefits from the same manic pacing that energized Romero’s continuing zombie saga. Romero’s indictment of mega-mall commercialism is lost (it’s arguably outmoded anyway), so Snyder and screenwriter James Gunn compensate with the same setting—in this case, a Milwaukee shopping mall under siege by cannibalistic zombies in the wake of a devastating viral outbreak—a well-chosen cast (led by Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, and Mekhi Phifer), some outrageously morbid humor, and a no-frills plot that keeps tension high and blood splattering by the bucketful. Horror buffs will catch plenty of tributes to Romero’s film (including cameos by three of its cast members, including gore-makeup wizard Tom Savini), and shocking images are abundant enough to qualify this Dawn as an excellent zombie-flick double-feature with 28 Days Later, its de facto British counterpart. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead is probably the greatest zombie movie of all time, as well as one of the best horror movies of the last 30 years. Set mainly in a suburban mall, it was as much a critique/satire on rampant consumerism as it was a chilling gore-fest. Though our country’s capitalistic nature has only escalated in the last 25 years, the satirical content has been slashed in Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake—but the zombies are more ferocious than ever. Unlike your parents’ undead, lumbering around aimlessly in search of brains, these zombies are fast, mean, and—relatively speaking—smart. Otherwise, this hi-tech update sticks pretty close to the source material. A visceral, violent pre-credit sequence brilliantly sets the stage: A strange plague infects much of the population overnight, causing the dead to rise and attack the living. Those not infected manage to hole up in a mall while the bloodthirsty corpses converge outside like shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving. Among the group of survivors are Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer, and Jake Weber. Who are they and what do they do? They fight zombies, of course—and therein lies the problem with this remake. The script is nearly as mindless as the zombies, heading down the predictable path of offing the leads one by one as they fight to escape. Snyder is a skilled visual stylist, however, and makes up for it with sheer thrills. Adrenaline levels run high the entire film, and the jolts come fast and furious with plenty of squeamish delights for gore fans. With a little more care and attention to story, Dawn of the Dead could have truly rivaled the original; instead we merely get a real good scare. Bill Pearis

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