Thursday, October 2, 2008

October 2 - Dawn of the Dead [2004]

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Director: Zach Snyder
Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Pfiher

Originally I had planned to watch the 1932 Universal classic The Mummy tonight. But my wife and a friend of hers wanted to join in the marathon tonight, so I decided on something a bit more modern and mainstream. I've moved The Mummy to later on in the month.

Dawn of the Dead is another movie I've seen a poor quality version of, but up until tonight hadn't seen on DVD, despite owning the disk. Let me just start off by saying I absolutely adore George Romero's originally Dead trilogy, and am for the most part not a fan of remakes. But I'm also willing to give most movies a chance, and generally enjoyed Zach Snyder's remake of Romero's 1978 classic.

In fact, I hardly consider this a remake at all. About the only things identical between the two movies are the name and the general premise of a bunch of people trapped in a mall, surrounded by zombies. The characters are different and the plot differs a great deal, so I like to think of this Dawn of the Dead as a continuation of the original trilogy, rather than a rehash.

The Good: 
- Zach Snyder (the director of probably my favourite movie of 2007, 300) sure knows how to shoot some stunning visuals, and throws in plenty of slow-motion, close ups and other tricks. 
- Snyder doesn't spare the gore, which is ultra important for a zombie flick. 
- I love the pre-credits shot of the woman driving her car through her neighbourhood as it becomes obvious the world has turned to crap. 
- Three words: Zombie freakin' baby!
- Gotta dig that lounge music version of "Down by the Sickness" by Disturbed.
- Ving Rhames is just a badass.

The Bad: 
- The female lead, Sarah Polley, just doesn't give her character any kind of strong presence.
- A few things defy logic. Like how did they automatically know which boat was Steve's? 
- Like most modern horror movies, it's all about the action and not so much about the characters. I genuinely cared about the characters in the 1978 original, so cared if they died or not. Here, not really.

Neither Good nor Bad: 
- I'm not too sure how I feel about the fast-moving zombies. Initially, having grown up with slow-moving zombies, I hated this new twist, but now I'm sitting on the fence about it. 

The Dawn of the Dead remake is an adrenaline ride. It doesn't compare at all favourably with the original, but if, like me, you can put that aside, the result is a stylish, fast-paced modern horror flick.

No comments: