Movies Main
Movies-to-View
Movie Database
Trailer Database
 Close Screen 

 Close Screen 

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead (1978) Movie Poster
View Movie
 Lang:  
  •  USA / Italy  •    •  127m  •    •  Directed by: George A. Romero.  •  Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early, Richard France, Howard Smith, Daniel Dietrich, Fred Baker, James A. Baffico, Rod Stouffer, Jese Del Gre.  •  Music by: Dario Argento, Goblin, Agostino Marangolo, Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli, Claudio Simonetti.
        Sequel to "Night Of The Living Dead". It's a couple of days after the dead have started to rise and attack the shocked living and civilization has started to crumble. In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, TV station workers Stephen and Francine decide to run as the situation worsens and, after meeting Roger and Peter (two special policemen ordered to move any people into rescue stations) who have also choose to run, steal the station's helicopter, and fly west in an attempt to find a safe place. After several attempts during their flight across Pennsylvania, they find a deserted mega-mall in Monroeville, outside Pittsburgh and decide to wait there until the crisis is over.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 3:40
 
 
 1:41
 
 
 1:03
 
 
 1:33
 
 3:45
 
 
 2:47
 
 2:03
 
 
 1:03
 
 
 1:02
 
 
 1:00
 
 
 0:33
 
 
 4:27
 
 

Review:

Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Image from: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
A couple of months ago, I got the opportunity of a lifetime to see "Reservoir Dogs", one of my favorite movies, at the theatre. Then, a while ago, the theatre I saw "RD" in was showing Romero's version of "Dawn of the Dead" as their midnighter. I assume it was in conjunction with the remake, though they showed it after the remake was out of the mainstream theatres. I became a fan of the movie recently, having bought the Divimax edition of the film a few days before I saw the remake. Needless to say, I was first in line for a ticket.

I must say that I liked this version better than the remake, but I don't want to spend this review comparing the differences between the two. I will say though, I like the slow zombies in this better than the fast zombies in the remake.

Romero has created the diffinative zombie movie here. It's easily the best of the trilogy, and I'm almost positive it will be the best in the quadrilogy, should Mr. Romero get the funding to do a fourth film in the series. His first, "NOTLD" was an excellent horror movie, but it was hampered with the annoying character of Cooper, who was obviously going to bite it. Plus, the tone of this film is much more lighthearted, "NOTLD" was very grim. Here the audience gets the opportunity to have fun with the characters. "Day of the Dead" had some of the lightheartedness of this film, but it was hampered with the annoying characters of Rhodes and Steele, who were also obviously going to bite it. In this film, the four leads are all likeable, though I will admit that it takes us a little while to warm up to one character, but I'll discuss him further along. Don't get me wrong, I love "NOTLD", both the original, and the remake, and I love "Day" I just think that out of all of the films, "Dawn" is Romero at his best.

The plot, in a nutshell, is this: A news station's helicopter pilottraffic reporter, Stephen, (David Emge) and his pregnant, on-again, off-again girlfriend Frannie, (Gaylen Ross) who works as one of the station's technicians, decide to steal the network's traffic chopper (It's more his idea than hers) and seek refuge in Canada. Stephen has invited his friend Roger, (Scott H. Reiniger) a Philadelphia SWAT team member. Roger questions whether it's right to run, but a disastrous excursion in a low-rent housing district, which harms more people than it helps, finally convinces him that he needs to get the hll out of dodge. While at the building in the low-rent district, he meets and befriends Peter, (Fen Foree) a fellow SWAT member. Roger figures one more won't hurt the group, so he invites Peter along. The group takes to the skies, but a lack of fuel grounds them temporarily at a shopping mall. At first, they just want to rest there for a little while, but eventually they decide that everything they need is at the mall, and they begin making provisions to seal the mall from the undead and become kings of the castle. But it's not going to be easy.

Those who only see this film as a horror movie will be dissappointed. While it definitely has it's horrific elements, it's not strictly a horror movie. It's a mix of Horror, Satire, Comedy, Fantasy and Action. Romero summed it up best: It's a big, sprawling, comic book, complete with bright red cartoonish blood. "Dawn" is also very much a social satire. When it was made, shopping malls were just starting to spring up, and consumerism was just starting to reach it's peak. The zombies are partially intended to represent mall shoppers on a typical day, wandering aimlessly from store to store as canned music plays hypnotically in the backround. It's a clever stab, and it works very well without upseting the "comic book horror" feel of the movie.

The characters are probably the best drawn in a horror film, ever. rarely have I watched a horror film and been so attached to the characters as I was in this. You have the natural leader, Peter, who always uses his head to make descisions, At first he's the outsider of the group, And since he's the only one of the group who's black, it ads to the tension. But his natural strengths come through and he becomes the eventual leader of the group. Peter is very much like Ben from "NOTLD" but with a little better decision making skills and no one getting in his way. Peter is my second favorite character in the film, topped only by Roger. The character of Roger, who's basically Peter's second in command, but who is almost as resourceful as Peter, is my favorite in the film. He's very much the class clown, a needed bit of comic relief in a world going to hll. Roger, like Peter, is for the most part cool under pressure, and for a little guy, he's one of the coolest characters ever put to screen, almost rivaling Peter. When you watch the movie, and see some of the things he does, you just can't help but like the guy. Stephen, however, is the most complex of the characters. At first, he seems like a sullen jerk, And he's almost set up to be an embodiment of the Cooper character from "NOTLD" but as the film progresses, he opens up, and we discover that not only is he helpful in a pinch, and very resorceful, but we also discover that some of his sulleness comes from the fact that he feels inferior to his male buddies, since he's not as trained in combat as they are, and he can't shoot at all like they can. And finally, there's Frannie, who's viewed as the weak link because she is a woman, and pregnant. But Frannie isn't as weak as they think, and she makes it very clear that she is going to be as much a part of the group as the guys, pregnant or not. She's resourceful as well, coming up with good ideas to help the group finish the tasks they need to. She has a few moments where she acts like Barbara from "NOTLD" but not very often, and she thankfully doesn't spend the entire movie alternately screaming and sitting in a catatonic state. They are all great characters, and they do a minimum of stupid things, which is wonderful, as nothing is more annoying than screaming at a movie character NOT to do something, then watching them do it and get killed. They occasionally have errors of judgement, but hey, everyone does at some point or other, and they are not out of context of the characters. It's not done just so something bad will happen to them or so it will undermine what they are doing.

What the audience will have the most fun with is the mall itself. It very much becomes a 5th character, and it puts to screen the fantasy of: What would you do if you had a shopping mall all to yourself? Surely everyone has wandered about a shopping mall and thought to themselves, "I wonder what it would be like if I had all this to myself?" But it's not all roses, and eventually, it becomes a prison to the characters, very much becoming a "Guilded Cage".

And I also must give a nod to the music of Goblin. Though only a 14th of their music is used in the theatrical release, it's very fun, my favorite song of theirs is when Roger and Peter are moving the first truck.

I loved this movie, and I can't wait for the 3 or 4 or 5 disc (No one knows for sure how many) set that it scheduled to come out in the fall from Anchor Bay. The movie has fared well, and it was extremely fun to see it on the big screen, even though the print is starting to wear out, and the sound wasn't always great, but it was good enough.

To close, if you are looking for a moderately scary movie with great characters, get this one. It's not extremely dated, the acting is, for the most part great, (You have to cut them some slack, for three of the actors, this was their first movie) and it moves along at a good pace. Again, I can't stress this enough, don't just watch this as a horror movie, watch it on all levels, and I promise you you'll enjoy it.


Review by Mr_Blonde3 from the Internet Movie Database.