Thursday, October 25, 2012
638. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Running Time: 127 minutes
Directed By: George A. Romero
Written By: George A. Romero
Main Cast: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross
Click here to view the trailer
FRIGHTFEST 2012: PART 2
"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth."
Continuing on with "Frightfest 2012", we come to a movie that was introduced to me by my brother, back in the 90s - "Dawn of the Dead". The film takes place following the events of "Night of the Living Dead", a movie that I previously reviewed for this blog, but one that didn't leave a substantial impact on me.
We pick up where we left off in "Night of the Living Dead", with zombies running wild in the streets and we zoom in on Philadelphia and chaos at a local news station. Two staff members at the local station, Stephen (Emge) and his girlfriend Francine (Ross) plan to take a helicopter out of town and look for a more desolate location, where they can lay low. They are joined by two SWAT Team members, Roger (Reiniger) and Peter (Foree) and the foursome take to the skies in the helicopter. When they are in danger of running out of gas, they stop to refill and later land on top of a mall, thinking that it will be a good spot to fend off the undead creatures. Tucked away inside the mall and holed up in a security office, the group take inventory of their supplies and what they'll need to survive. Despite the fact that the mall is teeming with zombies, Peter and Roger decide to make their way into the shopping center and pickup necessary supplies: a television, guns, ammunition, a radio and walkie talkies. Later, Roger and Peter also deem it necessary to block the entrances to the shopping mall so that once they kill all the zombies that are on the inside, they won't have to worry about more coming in. As they're driving large trucks to block the entrances, Roger is bitten by one of the undead. With his inevitable transformation on the horizon, Peter, Stephen and Francine rush to make their mall inhabitable, before Roger becomes one of THEM!
Even though I had a lot of fun with this movie, I'm going to start off the review portion of this post by bitching a little bit, because, lets face it, it's what I do best. Honestly, all in all, I was ultimately a little bit disappointed with "Dawn of the Dead". I had this movie pegged for at least a '9', if not a full blown '10' and after today's viewing I certainly won't be handing out either of those numbers. For starters, the film ran a little on the long side and there was a definite chunk in there that I think we could've done without. The point where the gang of four rid the mall of all the zombies and just begin living life inside the mall gets a little boring because, lets face it, we don't go to zombie movies to see people sitting around, proposing marriage, staging fancy restaurant getaways and playing mall arcade games. We go to zombie movies to see people kick some serious zombie booty and when that isn't happening here, it gets a little tiresome. I also could've done without the biker gang at the end of the movie, as it diverted the attention away from the zombies and focused the threat on other humans, who were mad because they didn't hole up in the mall. I think a better ending would've been just having the zombies find a way into the mall and since there were so many of them building up on the outside all these months, they would've overtaken Peter, Stephen and Francine.
However, I don't want to bash this film too much, because despite the fact that I was disappointed, I still had a blast with it. No one can deny that Romero found his niche when he ventured into the world of undead cinema. It's also interesting to note that I never look at Romero's zombie movies as horror films. Even when I saw this film as a kid, I didn't walk away frightened. Instead, I view them as survival films that just happen to feature intense scenes of gore. The movies, for me, aren't really about zombies, but rather about shit going down and a group of people banding together to survive. This movie is a REALLY easy one to like and even people who aren't really into horror movies should still be able to find something to enjoy here. I mean, come on, who doesn't dream about running rampant through a shopping mall and hunting zombies? I know I do! Also, with my recent viewing of my first set of Jackie Chan pictures and after watching this today, I realized what (one of) my ultimate movie fantasies are: I want to see a zombie movie starring Jackie Chan! I mean, how fucking incredible would that be? It would have to be Jackie Chan in his prime, so to do this I'd need a time machine, but I would watch the shit out of that movie and don't tell me you wouldn't! You'd mix the martial arts, jaw dropping, gravity defying stunts of a Jackie Chan movie with the survivalist nature of a zombie film and you'd have some kick-ass scenes. Can't you just picture Chan roundhouse kicking a zombies head off his shoulders and using set pieces and Buster Keaton like stunts to think of clever ways to decapitate the undead? GOLD!
EDIT: It's also worth noting that this movie was primarily filmed inside Monroeville Mall, a mall very close to Pittsburgh and one that I've never been to, despite it being about an hour or so from where I live.
RATING: 7.5/10 It was between a '7.5' and an '8', so I played it safe and went with the low number. Perhaps come RECAP time, it will go up. We'll continue "Frightfest 2012" in a day or two, with my next installment.
MOVIES WATCHED: 560
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 441
October 25, 2012 7:46pm
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