Pop Junk’s 31 Days of Halloween: #22 Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead is the feature-film debut of director Zack Snyder who from this film would go on to be a big time player in Hollywood as we speak.  Here he gives his take on the retelling of George A Romero’s 1978 Zombie classic Dawn of the Dead. Dawn of the Dead actually a sequel to horror classic “Night of the Living Dead” but Snyder’s 2004 take is a stand alone tale with a more modern twist and some of the social commentary striped away from the original but with all the gore still in tact.  That being said most of the story is also removed from the original as well This one follows a handful of random survivors for a Zombie outbreak taking refuge in a mall which is the only focal point really recycled from the original.

This film follows Ana (Sarah Polly) Kenneth (Ving Rhames) and others who seek refuge from blood thirsty zombies,; of the running variety. Some of which look like Olympic gold medalist to amp up the terror for the characters and the audience.  There are some fun characters but really no character development so you really don’t grow attached to any of these people.  As far as the actors go, Ty Burrell of Modern Family fame is the only true stand out as the asshole Steve who wise-asses his way through the movie making the audience pray he’ll get it in the end.

Something this film handles well is the changing of the guard as far as horror special effects go, transitioning from prosthetics and puppets to computer generated gore.  This film finds a good balance that doesn’t alienate you from what’s happening on the screen and succeeds at making your stomach turn.  Some scenes do reach disgusting heights such as the now infamous “wheel barrel” scene and a scene involving a zombie baby.  This movie is pretty relentless and does at it pleases and even includes a pretty grim epilog that I thought took some balls.  Over all the zombie make up in this film is above average which is to be expected from a big budget hollywood zombie flick so I won’t really go out of my way to pat them on the back for that.

Something else that really works in this film and to me is a high point is the music.  The song Snyder picks to set the tone to certain montage scenes really hit it square on the head.

There’s no debate that the original source material is superior and has a hell of a lot more to say but that should by no means make you dismiss this film as a true player in the horror community.  This movie didn’t stand a chance because of how tall its predecessor stands but Zack Snyder’s visual style makes this movie stand on it’s own two legs.  As far as remakes of horror films are concern, this may be one of the best.



~ by ATOM on October 10, 2011.

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