Dawn of the Dead

release year: 2004
genre: horror remake
viewing setting: theater, 3/19/04

synopsis: A crisis of epidemic proportions ensues as the dead come back to life and begin eating the living, who then die and come back to life, and so on and so forth...a small band of survivors holes up in a mall and has to survive infighting as well as the living dead.

impressions: This was one of the more well-done remakes in movie history. The main difference is that the living dead move fast here, I mean really fast - they run and jump and are generally difficult to flee or fight. The group of living people trapped in the mall is larger and more varied than in the original, and there are some new twists (pregnant woman gets bitten, dog plays a part since it's ignored by the living dead, fellow survivor on nearby rooftop.) This remake uses less gore and more suspense/surprise/shock to be scary. My one complaint: some of the action scenes are filmed in a rapidly-flashing style that makes it hard to tell what's going on.

things to watch for: Don't leave when the credits start rolling at the end.

something this movie has that no other movie has: An expectant mother who is bitten by a zombie within days of birth time.

recommended reading: the Zombie Survival Guide

acting: Ving Rhames plays a tough-guy cop. Sarah Polley is good as the competent heroine. Jake Weber is an everyman who becomes a hero. Mekhi Phiper is a reformed thug who doesn't exhibit much common sense after his pregnant wife is bitten. Ty Burrell plays a selfish, nearly-useless jerk. Michael Kelly does a good job as a mean security guard who changes his ways.

final word: A worthy remake, and a scary movie in its own right.

back to the main review page