Movie Review- Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Hi Folks,

 

 

So here we are our very last Undead Wednesday and we’re actually covering a remake that I quite enjoyed:

 

 

 

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

 

 

Fast Facts

 

Made in 2004 and directed by Zack Snyder (with Romero’s blessing) Dawn of the Dead is the first of the most recent spate of big budget Zombie projects.

 

Even with 'volunteers'

 

For those of you who do best with short and sweet synopses; it’s the one where they’re in the mall. A group of survivors camp out in a shopping mall to attempt to wait out the flesh eating storm.

 

 

Cast

 

Don't fuck with him

Ving Rhames- lends some badassery to the proceedings as the number one not to fuck with survivor.

 

Tank tops have a 1 in 5 survival rate

Sarah Polley- is our main protagonist in so much as we follow her from the initial bedlam to the mall.

 

That haircut has like a 1 in 10000000 survival rate

Jake Weber- as the voice of reason. He’s the rational guy we all like to think we’d be in this situation.

 

Even odds

Mekhi Phifer- is the well meaning but ultimately dead person we would wind up as.

 

 

can you say expendable?

And there’s a bunch of other characters but this is a zombie movie people, they’re caricatures of soon to be dead people.

 

 

Observations

 

It takes a little bit of my soul away to say this; but this is one of those extremely rare instances where I actually like the remake better than the original.

 

Sorry George

I like fast zombies I think they’re more frightening and while I understand they are a physical impossibility; when you’re talking about walking corpses is it really that big a stretch that they can run too?

 

Even if they do fall down?

I would like to make it clear before we hit the three top spots for this one that I am not saying the original isn’t great, it is. This one just gets me a bit more.

 

 

  1. Frank and Nicole

 

Those of us who play a lot of Left 4 Dead or just spend a lot of time thinking about how we’ll fare in a post-apocalyptic undead hellscape, have all asked ourselves the same nightmarish question:

 

What would I do if someone I loved was bitten?

 

I mean to be fair the answer’s pretty clear. But the knowledge of what is the right course of action and being able to do it are two very different things. There isn’t a single zombie movie made that doesn’t address this and there’s a reason for that.

 

That being said Dawn of the Dead explores this with a father and his non-infected daughter so you know cue the waterworks.

 

Yeah this sucks all the way around

This scene is horrifying. One of my favorite things about this zombie staple is watching the other characters faces (if there are any…characters not faces that would just be weird) as the decision is being made. Anyone who isn’t horror-struck, weeping or grimly determined is your asshole.

 

Ahh there you are

 

  1. Andy’s death

 

Andy is the survivor across the parking lot in his gun shop. They’ve been ‘playing’ games with him the whole movie (who doesn’t like the scene where they’re sniping zombies just for the hell of it?) and he has a truly awesome death sequence in that not only is it epic and involves an adorable dog; but it’s done entirely through audio.

 

The hair is his downfall

You don’t see any of it (really) and that makes it a lot scarier.

 

When he says over the radio that he’s fine, he’s just been bitten your heart sinks right along with his would be friends on the roof. It’s a shock scare in that your hopes have been dashed and what seemed like the first thing to go right in the entire movie actually went horribly wrong and the poor guy doesn’t even know it.

 

Though we figure it out pretty darn quick

Also there is a certain despair factor here; I mean if you can’t survive a zombie attack in a GUN SHOP we are all SCREWED.

 

 

  1. Birth of a monster.

 

Remember earlier when we were talking about the Great Zombie Apocalypse Dilemma?

 

Well Dawn of the Dead isn’t going to let us off the hook, only showing us the admittedly heartbreaking effects of making the RIGHT decision. No, just to be sure we’ve absorbed the moral of the story let’s do it all over again with Mekhi Phifer and his pregnant wife.

 

I can feel it shuffling!

He hides her from the other survivors and continues checking on her long after she’s entered the world of the un-living. All of which (literally) blows up in his face when the (now) undead fetus eats it’s way out of it’s host.

 

Hey you'd be pissed too

People who are squeamish may want to look away for this one.

 

The creature and gore effects in this scene are great. Just in case you’d ever wondered what a zombie birth looked like, well here you go; don’t eat beforehand…or during…or for several weeks after.

 

Who says there's no such thing as an ugly baby

And yeah if that special someone gets bit. Say your good byes and get a hold of some PTSD medication because there’s only one right decision. They would want you to live anyway.

 

 

If they say otherwise...they were cheating...blow em to hell anyway

 

Of course this just wouldn’t be an ‘of the dead’ movie without some kind of overarching social commentary; this one’s about consumerism and how it’s destroying us- see better than Spark Notes.

 

 

Final thoughts

 

Dawn of the Dead is the best example of many of the zombie movie tropes we take for granted. The remake does exactly what a remake should- make the story relevant for a modern audience while upping the intensity enough to make it worth watching over or in conjunction with the original.

 

Send the kids to bed first

 

All in all 9 out of 10

 

 

Also consumerism is evil.

 

Your mallrat Screamstress,

 

 

 

 

~ Fright Dyke

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