Dawn of the Dead (2004)

July 27, 2009 - 7:58am | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: blood, Boyd Banks, dawn of the dead, gore, Inna Korobkina, Jake Weber, Jayne Eastwood, Ken Foree, Kevin Zegers, Kim Poirier, Lindy Booth, Matt Frewer, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Barry, Michael Kelly, R.D. Reid, Sarah Polley, Scott H. Reiniger, Tom Savini, Ty Burrell, undead, Ving Rhames, walking dead, Zack Snyder, Zombie Movies

Your rating: None Average: 7.8 (50 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 

Rating #: 
Zack Snyder
Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth, Jayne Eastwood, Boyd Banks, Inna Korobkina, R.D. Reid, Kim Poirier, Matt Frewer, Scott H. Reiniger, Tom Savini, Ken Foree

When first word on a possible remake of the classic 1978 George Romero film Dawn of the Dead was mentioned, a lot of people shunned the idea and thought it ridiculous. When it was revealed that James Gunn (writer of the Scooby Doo films, as well as Troma's Tromeo and Juliet) was doing the script, it didn't help matters either. Once the first trailer appeared online, people's minds were changed drastically, because it was actually beginning to look like a pretty decent zombie flick. I went in watching this with an open mind, because I personally liked the remake of Night of the Living Dead better than the original, so I thought this couldn't be all that bad either. I came out of the theater very satisfied in terms of entertainment (which is what I primarily based my rating for this movie on) but it is lacking in other ways -- story, character development, etc..

Aside from the fact that a group of survivors bunker up in the local mall, the story is entirely different, which in turns basically makes this a movie on its own simply with the title of the 1978 film. They replaced the SWAT team members from the first film with mall security and a tough police officer played by Ving Rhames. It does have a larger amount of characters than the original, but it doesn't really mean it's a good thing, since it was very lacking in character development, so when someone would die or turn into a zombie, I felt the audience was left emotionless. Then again, I'm sure how the audience felt for the characters was the last thing they were going for here. Nope, the people behind this flick just went out to give us a solid, action-oriented zombie flick, and I have to say that they succeeded.

Although there are some sequences in the original that I wished were in this, like the cool scene where Tom Savini's character as the leader of a biker gang breaks into the mall and causes all sorts of chaos and mayhem, and of course the cool zombie debate that was broadcasted on TV in the beginning of the original. I also thought they could have extended the scenes that involved the people going around the mall and having fun with all the free stuff, much like they did in the original. Instead, in this film there are a bunch of short scenes that involved it, and then fast-forwards by showinh scene after scene of time going by and the survivors coping with the situation and learning to live in their environment. At this point we also see something we rarely ever see, and that's a baby zombie. Sadly, it was nothing we didn't already suspect since the trailer showed a pregnant woman with something bulging out of the belly, as if something inside were trying to escape.

The original movie focused more on human emotion, while this one skips most of that and centers on the action and how to survive and it succeeds in being entertaining and a solid zombie flick. I also liked how it had a lot of sweet-lookin', fast-as-hell zombies that reminded me those smart zombies from Return of the Living Dead (another fav. of mine). Some people wonder why the zombies are so fast in this movie -- well simply put, once the infected die, they immediately resurrect and become one of the undead, and since they haven't been dead long, their bodies are still pretty fresh, thus giving them the ability to move fast.

The movie doesn't shy away from the gore. Nope, we get some good bites and a nice head-exploding here and there, and a cool stab through the head. You'd have to expect this kind of stuff in a zombie film. You can also catch a few cameos from people from the original, like Scott Reiniger, who played Roger as a General; Ken Foree, who played Peter, as a priest who spills the lines "When there's no more room in Hell, the Dead will walk the Earth"; and Tom Savini, who did the effects and played the leader of the biker gang, as a county sheriff, who seems to know everything about the zombies. Sadly you only get to see them all on television broadcasts.

After I saw this movie I kept debating from giving it a 7 or an 8-rating, and in the end I thought I'd give it an 8, since I really enjoyed it. Sure it's not much for emotion or story, but it sure is a fun ride if you're a big zombie fan like myself. The original Romero film still kicks this remake in the balls, but it holds its own in terms of a zombie flick and that's all that really matters. Theres been some small talk on a sequel to this (which would be Day of the Dead), but who knows if it would be a direct sequel to this or and a remake of Day. Either way, it wouldn't surprise me if Day go remade, and now hopefully this will help spark more interest towards the movement of Romero's last and final installment in the Dead series -- Land of the Dead. Be sure to watch the credits for this movie through to the end, because clips will be shown about what happens with the survivors.

In terms of a remake, the original is still better, but in terms of a movie on its own, it holds up and delivers. It's a solid zombie flick and that's all that it is. It's not much for emotion or story, like the original, but it's big on entertainment and zombie-action. It really depends what you're looking for, but I was looking for a fun zombie-ride and that's what I got, and I was pleased.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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