Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Running Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By: James Gunn, from story by George A. Romero
Main Cast: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Kelly
Click here to view the trailer
FRIGHTFEST 2013: NIGHT FIVE
In the words of Christopher Walken: "WOW, Wowie Wow Wow Wow". I have to tell you, I'm real skeptical of any horror movie that's come down the pike since, say the year 2000, but this was something special and proved that Zack Snyder's push into the limelight, wasn't for nothing.
Fans of the blog should know the story of "Dawn of the Dead", since it was only last year (right around this same time, as a matter of fact) that I reviewed the original, Romero version of the film. However, for the newcomers, I'll gloss over the good stuff and we'll get on with the show. Zombies are overtaking the world! We focus in on young, good looking, married nurse Ana (Polley), as she arrives home from a shift that went an hour too long, to meet her husband in the comforts of their married bed and catch the tail end of American Idol. In the middle of the night, a neighbor girl (probably about eight years old or so) is noticed standing at the entrance to their bedroom door, blood dripping from her mouth. Ana's husband, concerned, rushes to the girl's aid, not realizing that she's been transformed into one of the undead. He's bitten! It only takes a few moments for him to turn into one of the wild eyed creatures from hell and within about thirty seconds he's attacking Ana, forcing her to barricade herself inside the bathroom, covered with the blood from her husband's...former husband's gaping neck wound. She manages to get to the car and drive off, realizing that the streets are overrun with flesh eating mosters: Welcome to "Dawn of the Dead". Meeting up with a few other survivors: Ken (Rhames), Michael (Weber), Andre (Phifer) and Andre's pregnant girlfriend, the group hole up in a shopping mall, firearms in hand and wait for help to arrive...but outside, zombies (a word we never hear in the film) pound at the glass doors, as their numbers multiply.
Me to my wife, during the film: "If that pregnant woman gets turned into a zombie and her unborn baby bursts from stomach, as a little, undead zombie, I'll give this movie a 10".
Well, it didn't exactly happen like that, but I'll be damned if I didn't get the zombie baby I'd always wanted!! Seriously though, who isn't skeptical of recent horror movies. They're all cut from the same pattern, they all have cheap thrills and barely creepy effects and for the most part, they're all as dull as dry toast, trying their damndest to do something to make you jump, when all you really want to do is jump into a better flick. However, here comes Zack Snyder to save the day and give us a kick ass zombie movie, that also brings the quality goods. I realized within the first fifteen minutes that this movie was something special and wasn't just going to be another one of those modern pieces of horror rubbish. A few POV shots and an aerial shot of Ana's town in blazes and chaos made me realize that I was in for a treat, by someone who knew how to be a good host. Because when you think about it, that's what film director's are, they're party hosts and if you enjoy their movie, then they're a good host and otherwise, they're a not so good host and I'm here to tell you that as far as "Dawn of the Dead" is concerned, Zack Snyder gave me a chance to party hard, let my hair down and have a good time, without feeling ashamed at liking something that isn't usually likable.
There's literally no reason to not like this film. The snobs can laud it as a modern horror masterpiece, while Snyder gives the casual, shallow movie goers something to "ooh" and "AHHH!" at. You have firearms galore, chainsaws, explosions, decapitations, blood by the buckets, tricked out buses and did I mention a ZOMBIE freakin' BABY!! Oh yeah and the ending is great too! You obviously have a very talented filmmaker here, having fun and that's probably why the results were so great. He took an original story and made it his own, while still paying homage to the original. Raise your hands if you'd have liked to have seen him tackle all three or Romero's original zombie flicks. I would've been totally down for that, leaving "Dawn of the Dead" as it is, remaking "Night of the Living Dead" as a modern black & white picture and really sprucing up "Day of the Dead", straying further away from the original than the other three. It's a pipe dream, but it could've been cool and kept Halloween time at the box office a bit more quality, instead of the atrocities that are being committed today with a "Carrie" remake (did we really need another one) and Insidious 2 (because no horror movie can end at part 1!).
RATING: 9/10 Great, great stuff and highly recommended. If you haven't seen this one, I can understand any skepticism, but trust me...it's good!
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