A Horror Movie A Day – Day 7: “Dawn of the Dead” (2004)

I’m on a lucky streak since the atrocity that is “Annabelle

This really is one of, if not THE best remake there is out there. Usually a remake is just a crippled version of the original, but quite honestly Zak Snyder has managed to one-up the King of Zombies, George A. Romero. It’s an incredible feat by anyone’s standards.

After a zombie virus has decimated the whole of the U.S.A., Ana (Sarah Polley) runs into a rag-tag group of survivors (including Ving Rhames, Jake Weber and Mekhi Phifer) who decide to take refuge in a mega mall in an attempt to wait out the plague. More survivors join later on in the film, and soon the team becomes big enough to attempt to escape the mall.

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There is everything that you could possibly want in a zombie film. It’s intense; it’s funny, has some sweet zombie kills and has some really good cameos from the original film and although it abandons the social commentary of the original, you can forgive it because it’s just so damn good!

It’s quite a hard film to review because there aren’t any standout performances from any actors. There is just generally a good team effort, but who watches zombie movies for acting quality? The characters are all essentially zombie fodder. I mean the only truly memorable performance is from Ty Burell (Modern Family) as the pervy, wannabe playboy, Steve. One of the best things about the original is that there was such a restricted cast; there is a lot more character development. Since zombie films have been modernized, people care less about characters and more about action, which Snyder could only create by introducing so many characters. So I wouldn’t say that it’s a lost quality of the original, more of a required adaptation for a modern audience.

Also the zombies are “Fast zombies” meaning that they run and are extremely agile, completely converse to the original “Romero zombie” who are always quite slow and docile. Again, a necessary adaptation to a modern audience, people have recently fallen foul of slow zombies, they provide less intensity and less shock scares. Romero, however, is openly critical of these zombies as he feels that they “limit the impact of the undead”, though Snyder argued that when the camera lingers on the undead for long, they become more human. I agree with the latter testament.

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The special effects are top notch, though it’s an extremely gory film. In fact, there is almost an unnecessary amount of gore. It all does make for a more entertaining movie though; it makes people flinch and provokes a more physical reaction to the film. There are also loads of zombies which were all actors with incredibly detailed makeup. Really good use of practical effects. There are also various additions such as a super strong muscular zombie, a little girl zombie and even zombie baby

There are some cameos from the original, which I always think is a good, respectful way of paying tribute. In fact there are three in total, and all appear on the news. Ken Foree as an evangelist preacher, Scott Reiniger as a general and Tom Savini as the cop who gives the immortal advice; “The only way to kill them is to shoot them in the head”.

All in all a really enjoyable, entertaining film. It’s not particularly scary but provides jumps and gore, which is all you can really want for the perfect Halloween “warm-up” film.

 

RATING: 8/10

CATEGORY:

Zombie: Gory, dark humour and jumps in abundance.

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