Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead

Written by James Gunn
Directed by Zack Snyder

Ana...Sarah Polley
Kenneth...Ving Rhames
Michael...Jake Weber
Andre...Mekhi Phifer

This is a remake in concept only, as no characters from the original are reinterpreted here--which probably helps out immensely. Genre lovers are tired of seeing their cherished icons being dragged through the mud and turned into sniveling emo brats--although I'm not sure emo was really around when this movie was initially released.

Regardless, a group of survivors take refuge in a shopping mall following the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse. Personalities clash and the bullshit notion of Alphas Vs. Betas erupt into a lot of bickering and in-fighting while the undead hoards are beating at the door.

There are a few clever nods to the original film, and some of that cast even make cameos here, including Ken Foree (who quotes a variation of his famous line, "When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth") and Tom Savini as a zombie-slaying sheriff.

Gone are the light-hearted scenes of Muzak-backed buffoonery, replaced with more of a straight-ahead horror story that does away with social commentary. This may appeal to some, but the filmmakers have also done away with the biker subplot that asked the question "Where lies the bigger threat?", replacing it with a less-inspired security guard variation of the same theme.

Phil Dunphy, we hardly knew ye.
A fantastic opening sequence that makes great use of saintly sinner Johnny Cash (although a later use of Richard Cheese was a strange choice), gooey special effects, and solid performances by a fabulous cast all round out this nihilistic take on a classic film. It's one of the few remakes that get it right, and it has balls to spare.

I mean, a zombie newborn? How can you not love that?

Rated R
101 Minutes
United States

"America always sorts its shit out."

1 comment:

  1. I still think it's the best thing that Snyder has done.

    James Gunn also wrote Slither, which I find tremendously underrated...


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