Friday, October 15, 2010

31 Nights of Horror - Night Fifteen: Dawn of the Dead (1978), (2004)


George A. Romero sucks at making movies these days. But, Dawn of the Dead represents a time when his mind was hatching all sorts of classic material. The original incarnation stands as a classic study on human nature and a commentary on greed and consumerism in the guise of a horror movie about the undead coming back to life.

I realize that I may lose some respect from some of the loyal Film Deviant readers out there with this following statement. Dawn of the Dead has always been my least favorite of his "of the Dead trilogy". I say trilogy because fuck anything that came out after the third entry. The only one of his films that is watchable these days is his Land of the Dead.

I understand that Dawn is sort of the spiritual Romero film with most of its social commentary still being relavent today. It's a timeless picture rooted in well-thought out themes that scare you on different, much deeper levels. I get that the film is more significant than any other zombie flick that has come out before...or since. However, it is not my favorite. That honor will be revealed a little later on this list.


Fuck. I'm officially in a bad mood now, ladies and gentlemen!

While browsing Romero's IMDB site for some info on him...I happened across an announcement for a remake of Deep Red, Dario Argento's masterpiece, which will be directed by Romero himself. Goddamnit! Just when you thought this guy couldn't fuck anything else up....now he's going after a personal favorite of mine!!! Here I was...about to gush all these good words about how Dawn of the Dead is a significant film for the horror genre...and how it will be one day exhumed by aliens and studied for it's brilliance and commentaries on mankind. I was going to talk about the great premise of locking yourself up in a shopping mall if ever the threat of zombies became a reality. And I was going to go on about all the great characters that Romero set up and how absolutely awesome Ken Foree is in the film.

You know what...fuck this guy! I'm done writing about this guy right now. How could you seriously go after a film that is a personal love of mine???? Is nothing sacred these days?!?


Dawn of the Dead gets a 5 out of 5...despite my angst right now.




You know...I wasn't gonna do this but, in lieu of hearing this certain frustrating announcement...I am forced to change things up a little bit.....

so....







Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake from 2004 stands as a monumental film in the genre that is horror. It shows that you can successfully remake a classic film if you make it your own and turn out something altogether brand new and fresh while keeping faithful elements to the original. It's a film debut from a visionary director and stands almost as good as the original in almost every way. The opening scene alone that seques into Johnny Cash's When the Man Comes Around is one of the best opening sequences in any film...remake or not.


The film stars Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, a really good Jake Weber...along with some cameos from the original classic...Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger and Tom Savini. This version also adds fire in the way of a blowtorch to the whole "fast zombies" vs. "slow zombies" debate. Personally, I think this is one of the dumbest debates known to mankind...but, whatever. You can say what you want about how zombies are meant to be slow impending death and all of that...but, when an undead maniac comes dashing for your brains...you won't have time to mess around with dumb debates.

The Dawn remake is also a smart film in its own right. It presents all of that social allegory stuff in other ways. Much more to the point. The characters are all really well represented and well acted, too. The scene where Michael (Weber) "stays to watch the sun rise" is still as heart-breaking as when I first saw it.

Oh....and did I mention ZOMBIE BABY??!!


The special effects are really top notch, too. In fact, the entire film is beautiful to look at. It's a great film that took us all by complete surprise. I mean...seriously...did you expect this film to be so good? No...you didn't. You thought this film was going to piss all over the original when it first came out. There are even Romero purists out there that like this film better than the original. Trust me...they exist.

Both Dawn of the Dead films would make a great double-feature on a dark Halloween night. Personally, I like this one a little better right now....but, that's just me.


4 out of 5
Thanks for reading,



*NOTE: I just read somewhere that Romero declined the offer to direct the remake after he heard that Dario Argento knew nothing about the proposed project. Thank Jesus...I apologize for my momentary lapse into fury. We can all go on with our lives now.

2 comments:

  1. remake was ok. zombies should not be able to run, even if it is only the recent dead. I like when they walk slow with this i want you look,but im not sure why until i get you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. While I agree that a zombie, by nature, should be slow and clumsy. To one day see a creature of the undead bolt towards you...there's nothing scarier. Can you imagine? Logically, you are correct...Romero has always made the zombie a metaphor for slow impending death...but, when Danny Boyle and Zack Snyder introduced the running zombie it took things to a new level. A concept that hasn't really been utilized to this effect before. The rush of an inevitable death coming at you before you can even react. Scary concept. I don't mind both incarnations of zombies...as long as it's a good film.

    ReplyDelete