Saturday, October 28, 2017

Film Review: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead (Review)
United States/2004
Format Viewed for Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...one of the greatest horror remakes of all time."

A group of survivors takes refuge in a shopping mall during a zombie outbreak.

Dawn of the Dead is a remake of the classic George A. Romero film of the same name. The plot follows a group of characters who take refuge in a shopping mall during a zombie outbreak. The characters include nurse Ana Clark (Sarah Polley), police officer Kenneth Hall (Ving Rhames), TV salesman Michael (Jake Weber), married couple Andre and Luda, and plenty of others. Most of the plot is simple: a fight for survival, which includes human infighting and zombie killing. However, although it is a simple plot, it is still engrossing. Watching these characters live in the mall, adapt to their new lives, and make heartbreaking decisions is incredible—just as it was while watching the original. It leads to a strong climax and a decent ending. The ending wasn't bad, but it does feel a bit rushed, like if it didn't really have anywhere else to go.


Dawn of the Dead is one of the greatest horror remakes of all time. It takes everything that was great from the original and revolutionizes it. This was one of the first movies to bring running zombies to the mainstream. (Yes, I know there are earlier instances, but I'm saying this is one of the most popular and groundbreaking of its kind.) In turn, the film's pace is as fast as its zombies—very. So, the film blends a roller-coaster pace, slick visuals, and fierce action with the brilliant concept and the compelling themes of the original—it's a great combination. I suppose the film does suffer from some contrived moments, though. The dog scene, which can be justified in certain ways, is still annoying. In fact, some characters—at least one character—appears to be in the film solely for contrived reasons.

The acting was good. There were a few mediocre performances, such as Mindy Booth, but those performances don't ruin the film since their characters don't dominate the screen. Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, and Michael Kelly all performed very well. The film was shot well, too. The slick visuals match the tone of the film. The music was also good. The screenplay was written by James Gunn and the movie was directed by Zack Snyder. The writing has a few issues when it comes to some of its supporting characters and a few plot contrivances, but it ultimately works as a remake. Like the writing, Snyder is respectful to the source material, but he dares to shake-up the genre. He delivered more than a slapdash remake and he had a big hand in rejuvenating the zombie subgenre because he had a real vision—his passion is evident.

Overall, Dawn of the Dead is a fantastic horror film. As I stated before, it is one of the best remakes of all time. It takes the greatness from the original and creates an entirely new experience. If you're an open-minded fan, I think you'll love this one. However, if you're a die-hard fan and you can't admit that some remakes are good, you might as well avoid this one. And, I don't care what all the nitpickers say, the introduction is stellar.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some nudity and sex.

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