Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead (2004)


4.0300 Stars


Zombie Burt Reynolds gets his head blown off. Take that Bandit!



This is a film that really takes you to another level of the Zombie Apocalypse. There is an ominous feeling from the early seconds of this movie, that make you want to look over your shoulder well after the movie is over. While most flicks in this genre let you know from the start who the hero is, this one blurs the lines between good and bad, and its a little harder to determine. There are several gore filled moments that will make even the strongest stomachs turn. Learning from the mistakes of other films, this tromp through a Zombie infested city of America makes it feel as if this could actually happen while still using the high budget effects. Dawn of the Dead will take you through several aspects of what it is like to fight for survival in a Zombapocalypse.

The story begins in a normal town much like those of everyday suburban America. All at once you are thrown into a world of never ending terror filled with ghouls who want nothing more than to feast on your flesh. The transition between a the two worlds comes as quickly as a swarm of hungry undead after spotting a meal. Once you are thrusted into the height of the struggle for survival, the problems seem only to get worse for this group of confused everyday Joes. Just when you think the infestation of Zombies can get no worse, the filmmakers pay very close attention to showing you just how serious the situation is. From twist to twist, this flick takes so many scenarios that have never been touched in a Zombie film, and they find artistic ways to push them into the main story. From the first scene that you literally emerge into the society ruled by fear and panic, until the shocking post credit ending.

What some may not know is that this particular remake was directed by the visionary Director, Zack Snyder( "The 300", "Watchmen'). Zack has taken a very artistic look at the Zombie movie genre of old. Even the opening credits are shown in the most hair raising way. While an old Johnny Cash song plays, there are flashes and clips of news reports that seem all too real. Zack Snyder took expert camera angles and ultra violence, and made them dance together in a symphony of horror. It is all so beautiful and yet gut wrenching as you watch the drama and terror unfold. The cast gives some very strong performances. Ving Rahmes plays the tough guy cop with a heart of gold, and Mekhi Phifer is the troubled youth. This is only one example of the conflicting character plots. Wonderfully written and decently portrayed, the layers that were brought to this film are beyond and B-list movie you can pick up.

While respecting the way the movie was shot and written, there are brief points when the viewer is made to feel as if maybe the special effects budget just wasn't capped so they felt the need to throw in a few more slow motion scenes. Speaking of the special effects budget, this one made damn well sure that it used as much of that cash as it could. The viewer can actually see over the passing days in the film, that the zombies are decaying and begin to look more and more disgusting. Gore, gore and more gore become a main part in the story during the main conflict of the movie. There are several interesting ways for Zombies to bite the dust through the runtime of this movie. From fire to croquet mallets to chainsaws, they used some interesting means to deal with the walking dead. However, for a group of people trapped in a mall ( a virtual playground for zombie killing) they just come up a little short on the weapon front.

From start to finish, this film will have you either biting your nails or holding back the puke but never will you remove your butt from the edge of the seat. While there are several aspects that make this a great film, there are some genre conforming mistakes. At some point in all of the movies in this genre, there is a point when you find yourself asking " Why the heck would they do that?". That is really the only flaw in this movie other than a few casting mistakes.