A young female nurse, named Anna, is caught in the middle of a world-wide chaos as flesh-eating zombies begin rising up and taking over the world and attacking the living. She escapes into the streets and is rescued by a black police officer, named Kenneth. Together they find shelter in a mall along with a group of other survivors. For a while everything is ok, but pretty soon, they start running out of food, the power goes out, and the dead keep finding ways to break through their defenses. Realizing they're sitting ducks, they make a plan to head for an island by using two armored mall shuttle busses to get across the sea of zombies.
Directed by: Zack Snyder
. Starring: Sarah Polley
, Ving Rhames
, Jake Weber
, Mekhi Phifer
, Ty Burrell
, Michael Kelly
, Kevin Zegers
, Michael Barry
, Lindy Booth
, Jayne Eastwood
, Boyd Banks
, Inna Korobkina
, R.D. Reid
. Music by: Tyler Bates
I am a huge fan of the original Dawn Of The Dead to the point where i am obsessed with it, i probably watch the film at least once or twice a month and upon hearing about this "remake"(which i thought it was going to be), i was screaming bloody murder and then even more rage was poured into me by the realisation that the person responsible for scripting the Scooby Doo film had written it.
But then i read a script review on Ain't It Cool News and was surprised to learn that Moriarty(i am sure it was him if my memory serves me correctly) of all people loved the script and it was only then that it dawned on me that this wasn't to be a remake but a totally different film.
Then the next thing was the teaser trailer and from what i saw, the zombies were running after people and the film looked like a bit of an event picture, where the events outside the houses and malls were being reported and the world was literally falling apart in front of our very eyes...and so i became very very very excited about this new film indeed.
And so i waited in anticipation and finally got to see it yesterday....
And what can i say?, i want to see it again immediately!
I didn't see much things to compare with the original, the only similarities are the shopping mall and the title of the film.
There are, however, many other films that i could reference better than the original Dawn Of The Dead - 28 Days Later(infected people sprinting after people and murdering them), Assault On Precinct 13(survivors barricading themselves inside a building while being threatened by whats outside), Aliens(that sewer scene with the zombies reminded a lot of the air duct scene in Aliens), Brain Dead(erm, the zombie baby?) and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers to name but a few but i loved the fact that this wasn't a direct homage to what George Romero did with his original film, James Gunn has put his very own spin on it and come up with something more modern and something more highly-charged and thrilling.
Romero's film is a lot more grim and grimy in both style and content whereas this one is a lot more flashy and thrilling, Gunn's script really delves more into the zombie threat being a global catastrophe and it was great to see more of that in this film with the budget Zack Synder had at his disposal. Literally we see the world falling apart within minutes and people going into a state of panic, chaos and destruction is everywhere and we are just as dazed and confused as the people in the film because it is never explained as to why people have become infected with a disease that makes people become bloodthirsty maniacs that want to bite a chunk out of your windpipe.
There are some strong noteworthy performances in this film. Ving Rhames, Michael Kelly, Sarah Polley and Jake Weber are all superb in this film although i felt Mekhi Phifer wasn't in it enough and i felt his character didn't develop enough. It was predictable who was going to die and who was going to escape the mall but at no point did i feel that the acting was poor or the storyline was slipping away, i felt that Gunn has given us a film that is pure visceral adrenaline-pumping horror from the word go.
From the opening moments, Gunn's script captures that Romero spirit of a creeping fear or dread that something bad has happened and that its going to change our world forever and bring such an immense amount irrepairable damage along with it, and the minute Sarah Polley steps out of her house after her life has been torn apart, we see the world outside has changed to such a crushing apocalyptic effect. The world has gone insane, neighbours are brandishing guns and threatening other neighbours, family members are killing one another and cars are speeding desperately down the roads fleeing the horror thats just hit the world.
And it never lets up for a second, we know these characters aren't safe from the threat outside, every situation they're in has a sense of dangerous desperation about it and we're shocked and scared at what they have to do just to stay alive.
A few noteworthy things for me was the emotional storylines within Gunn's script, i felt saddened for Matt Frewer's character and his daughter where a bite on his arm calls for his immediate execution and his acceptance of his fate to save his daughter's life and the people who can help save her's lives is quite a heartbreaking moment.
I also thought Mekhi Phifer's character trying to come to terms with keeping his baby alive and trying to save his infected girlfriend from a similar execution was perhaps the most disturbing thing about the movie but his obsession with keeping life going for himself and for the love of his girlfriend was also a moment where i felt could've come straight out of one of Romero's films...if he had thought of it.
As for the zombies themselves...well, they're not really zombies per se, these are more like the Infected in 28 Days Later. They sprint after people like Ben Johnson on an elephant's sized dosage of steroids and are far more lethal than the sluggish zombies depicted in Romero's movie and this is what makes Snyder's movie more fast-moving and makes the characters more nerve-struck and edgy and probably more unpredictable and dangerous.
Whereas in Romero's original, the fact that the zombies in it were so slow and sluggish in movement, the situation in that mall and outside could be somewhat controlled, the situation in this movie seems uncontrollable and far more potentially desperate and dangerous because of the crazedness and speed of the infected zombies and i felt this was something that made the film far more interesting, the need to stay alive involved more desperately insane life-or-death situations.
However, there wasn't much room for humour or gore as it was so fast-moving, two attributes that are something very much evident in Romero's work, there were no custard pie in zombies faces scenes or zombies' heads being lopped off by the whirring rotor blades of a helicopter, there wasn't any zombies dressed as nurses or Hare Krishnas either but one of the funniest scenes in this one involved the characters inside the mall standing on top of the roof holding cards up to Andy, a character who had barricaded himself on top of the roof above his gun store, to tell him to shoot zombies who look liked celebrities i.e Jay Leno, Burt Reynolds etc
Andy is another character we feel some emotion for, Ving Rhames' character begins to develop a friendship for him as they hold up cards to one another to communicate with each other from building to building, and then when Andy tells him he is hungry we realise that the friendship between the two of them isn't going to last much longer and that the situation in the world is going to become hopeless, bleak and desperate again.
I'm trying to be as ambivalent with this review of the film as possible so not to spoil anything at all for anyone wanting to see this film, its a movie i'd rather leave people to judge by themselves and the only thing i can say to anyone going to see this movie is to not compare it in any way to the original George A. Romero masterpiece.
I could never understand why purists are comparing it anyway or making disparaging remarks about this movie existing, the original film hasn't been erased from memory, it is still readily available on VHS and DVD so the existence of this movie isn't going to cancel out the original nor is it going to replace it in the history books, basically all this version of Dawn Of The Dead is pure adrenalised horror with plenty of shocks and plenty of action and plenty of blood and great setpieces.
There's been a lot of things talked about the ending to this film, which i actually liked but what i felt was somewhat missing from some of Romero's films. I remember the original Dawn Of The Dead script had a different ending where Ken Foree did commit suicide and where Gaylen Ross' character also committed suicide by thrusting her body into the rotor blades of the helicopter and the last thing we would've saw had that ending been left in and filmed would've been the zombies feasting on her body and Ken Foree's, thus leaving a sense of shock and dread to us all...which is something i think James Gunn and Zack Snyder have tried to do here and its one of those moments where you've gone on this huge emotional rollercoaster with these people and suddenly the bloodsoaked carpet has been pulled from under your feet...lets just say that there won't be a sequel or a Dawn Of The Dead 2 - Mid-Morning Brunch Of The Living Dead or whatever.
If i have to mark this movie out of 10, i will give it a 9, it ups the ante where 28 Days Later is concerned and broadens the spectrum of the original Dawn Of The Dead to looking more like the globalised catastrophe some of the emergency channel news reports alluded to in that film and shows it all in living(and living dead) colour through news reports and various setpieces through the film and i think Gunn and Synder have managed to pull off that apocalyptic feel to the movie perfectly. Very impressive indeed.
What can i add other than all i have said?...just don't view it as a remake because it isn't a shot-by-shot remake nor is it a homage to Romero's film, its a different film with a different story by a totally different director. If you watch the film with that in mind, you will like it as much as i did.
Hope this review has been helpful and i would be welcome to read any of your comments in future, thanks for your time and patience if you've read my words and hope you enjoy the film as much as i did.
Review by krisrennie from the Internet Movie Database.