In 1978, the late George A. Romero directed a zombie film titled, “Dawn of the Dead” with zero connection to “Night of the Living Dead.” The Premise is about a small group of survivors barricading themselves in a shopping mall as a result of a zombie outbreak rapidly spreading around the globe. The film became a sleeper hit and made green at the box office. Twenty-Six Years Later, Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Justice League) made his directorial debut remaking George’s classic. Fresh from “Scooby-Doo,” James Gunn (one of my Top 5 filmmakers) wrote the script. Ving Rhames & Sarah Polley were casted in the lead roles.
Dawn of the Dead was released in 2004. (same year Saw came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Plus, it made enough revenue at the box office. Simon Pegg, the lead star of the zombie parody “Shaun of the Dead,” praised the film.
Zack Snyder’s most recent film is another zombie movie on Netflix called, “Army of the Dead.” His next project is an epic sci-fi, “Rebel Moon” which’ll stream in the future on Netflix. James Gunn’s next projects are “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a second season of “Peacemaker” and a holiday special focusing on the aforementioned third entry. Before Mr. Gunn’s projects come out, I wanna share my thoughts on my all-time favorite zombie film. By the way, I’ll be reviewing selective Horror films during Halloween Month.
Today’s review contains no SPOILERS whatsoever. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Alive & Dead Qualities
Alive: Vig Rhames, Sarah Polley, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Kelly & Ty Burrell al did a fantastic job for their respective performances.
Zack Snyder did a decent job directing his first film.
James “JG” Gunn wrote the script. He made sure everything’s according to plan.
Action Sequences are solid as heck. They captivate survivors fending off against zombies.
Visual And Practical Effects were heavily involved to create zombies. CGI was used sparingly. They still hold up for a film released in 2004.
Death Scenes are very brutal. If you have a weak stomach, be prepared. You’re gonna need a barf bag.
Cinematography was shot carefully. It felt like I was inside the mall with the survivors.
Tyler Bates (Watchmen, John Wick series, Guardians of the Galaxy) orchestrated the soundtrack.
The film is set in a shopping mall. The video game, “Dead Rising” also took place in a mall too. The mall is actually built by set decorators.
Prior to the outbreak, a patient is named, Edward Solomon. A reference to screenwriter Ed Solomon. Known for writing “Men in Black” “Now Sudden Move” & “The Bill and Ted Trilogy.”
Primary Themes are Survival, Paranoia, Loss, Teamwork & Trust. Each one is handled maturely.
Chemistry between the characters served as the main highlight. They must work together if they wanna stay alive.
JB mentioned the film is influenced by acclaimed remakes including John Carpenter’s “The Thing” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” & “The Fly.”
Ken Foree & Tom Savini make cameo appearances. The former co-starred in the original. The latter worked on the special effects.
Opening Credits shows a montage of the world going to heck. Johnny Cash’s “When the Man Comes Around” is played in the background. The song was also used in “Logan.” Dawn of the Dead’s montage also inspired another opening montage from “The Last of Us.”
Be sure to watch the End Credits. Disturbed’s “Down with the Sickness” is played in the background. The Ending gets Bonus Points for JG making a gutsy move without sequel baiting the audience.
Dead: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving the Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless remake as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
Considered as one of the best (if not the best) remakes, Dawn of the Dead remains as my all-time favorite zombie film. Shaun of the Dead is a runner-up. Dawn of the Dead is labeled as a legit remake along with John Carpenter’s The Thing, The Fly 1986, “Cape Fear,” “Dracula 1992,” “The Mummy 1999,” “Ocean’s 11,” “Freaky Friday,” “King Kong 2005,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “True Grit” & “A Star Is Born 2013.” If you wanna get your scare on, I strongly recommend Zack Snyder’s version of Dawn of the Dead.
One thought on “Dawn of the Dead (2004)”
Awesome film. #restorethesnyderverse