in Shocktober

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I would be shocked to learn if this film was made for any other reason than “I want money! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” Though I do recognize a genuine attempt to make something worthwhile. The film was directed by the highly visual if not extremely hit or miss Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, Watchmen) and written by writer/director B-movie hero James Gunn (Slither, Super, and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy). These aren’t normally the people you’d expect to see on this kind of project. Normally, these horror remakes are cheap and uninspired gore-fests. Dawn, on the other hand, is a grindhouse movie that has received full Hollywood blockbuster treatment.

The film opens with Ana (Sarah Polley), a nurse returning home from a hectic day. An emergency TV bulletin comes up and but she and her man are too busy making the sexy time. The next day they wake up and the apocalypse begins. Their now zombie neighbor enters their bedroom and infects Ana’s husband, she makes a run for the car and makes it by the skin of her teeth. Did I mention the zombies in this movie run? That’s dumb. Why would someone who’s died gain superhuman abilities? Then again, it’s never made sense why zombies can rip people open with their bare hands so whaddya gonna do? Eventually, Ana meets a police officer named Kenneth (Ving Rhames) and they, along with a few other survivors hold up in a shopping mall.

Aside from the whole, “holding up in a mall” the film shares few similarities with the original Romero film. On one hand, it’s good that they took it in their own direction, on the other, why not make a new movie entirely? It’s like they wanted to separate themselves form the original but still piggyback off its name. Aside from the beginning, which I will admit is entertaining, I don’t care for much else that happens. There’s a bunch of violent confrontations, a sequence in some heavily armed buses, and a zombie baby. Yes, you heard me correctly, an infected woman gives birth to a zombie baby. It’s as stupid as it sounds.

Dawn of the Dead has a few bold visuals. Perhaps the most memorable being an opening montage of chaotic news footage set to Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around”. But there’s little else that we haven’t already seen done better. Yet this movie has quite a following. Just so you think I’m not some lone nut, here’s an article by Whatculture on why this movie sucks.

Dead Baby Animatronic Eyes1
Zombie baby’s day out!