Just a quick note before I begin, I loved the first Dawn of the Dead film and think it is easily one of the best horror flicks ever, that said the 2004 adaptation
Dawn of the Dead was quite a gutsy attempt seeing how the original film has become such a cult classic, inspiring special edition DVD releases and millions of people scouring the Net just to get a peek at the trailer or some movie stills. Hell, it has been in RopeofSilicon’s top ten most previewed films for quite a while, so there was a lot to live up to.
Since it has been a long while since we had a movie that really went back to what makes a horror movie good let’s make a list of what those things are; blood, gore, unnecessary nudity, guns, chainsaws, demon babies, people eating people, and on, and on. Well, if that is what you want, then the remake of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is for you.
One necessary disclaimer would be that this movie is a complete remake, so don’t expect anything that you had in the first movie to carryover into this one. For example, there is NO helicopter, which I was thankful for, it removes the ease of escape. What you get from the first in the remake is that zombies are now walking the Earth and eating people and a group of survivors take refuge in a local shopping mall, but the changes are good changes and work pretty much the whole way through.
Blood and guts reined in Romero’s original and I have heard that this movie originally received an NC-17 rating and has been cut down to R, which makes me really anxious to see a DVD director’s cut. The one major thing that I noticed missing from the film was the scene in the original where zombies actually rip open a man’s torso and begin eating his guts, quite gruesome, quite memorable.
Bloody imagery aside the one thing that really helps Dawn of the Dead is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Jokes are worked in to the film throughout creating a lively movie getting the audience involved as much as possible. People cheer when the a**-hole dies and laugh when a marksman begins picking off zombies in the parking lot based on the celebrities they resemble. Bye, bye Jay Leno.
If there was a fault to the film it would be that it gets a bit slow in the middle, but that is primarily due to the kick ass opening sequence and a very good ending considering you pretty much know how it is going to turn out.
It has been a long time since I had so much fun watching people being sawed in half and having their heads removed by a shotgun , and if you are any fan of horror and George Romero you will see that director Zack Snyder and screenwriter James Gunn have put together a very good rendition of Dawn worthy of a place in the Dead collection.