Dawn of the Dead – Review

dvd-dawnofthedead200Dawn of the Dead

with Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer
Directed by Zack Snyder
Written by George A. Romero, James Gunn 
(Universal Studios)
By John Bikowski

I remember listening to a panel of filmmakers discuss the merits of remaking the original 1978 Romero classic. The director of the remake, Zack Snyder, was going on about how he’d tried to stay true to the film while providing more modernized jolts and themes. My interpretation was more like “I am going to frig up all the wonderful memories you have of Romero’s film. I know it’s your favorite, but I am going to make you hate all things related to Dawn of the Dead.” Well, I must say; I was wrong. I wanted to hate this update, but I can’t. It rocks. It’s funny, gory, explosive, and full of characters you can relate to either in companionship or hatred. The performances are solid, the zombies are quick and violent, and even the soundtrack is entertaining. Well done, Zack.

The film begins strong with the reporting of multiple attacks on innocent people by friendly types gone berserk. General hope for world peace quickly unravels as we follow our heroine, Ana, home from the hospital. The fan gets rapidly crap-covered as her husband is killed by a cute little girl and everyone around the neighborhood seems to be having similar issues. Eventually, Ana and a small band of survivors hole up in a mall alongside a paranoid bunch of redneck security guards. The more people that stray into their potentially safe sanctuary, the greater their chances of disembowelment. Across the road, stranded on the rooftop of a gun store, is a character named Andy. There are some hilarious moments where Andy plays a game of Celebrity Lookalike Assassination. He’s got plenty of guns, but no food. The crew figures they can save Andy, get some guns, and relocate to a nice island somewhere. Unfortunately, life in a zombie film isn’t that sugar-coated. Definitely check it out. Another favorite moment: The crooning adaptation of Disturbed’s “Down With the Sickness.”