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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Oct 20: Dawn of the Dead


Oct 20: Dawn of the Dead

"A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall."
Directed by: Zack Snyder, Rated: R, 101 minutes

It's hard to imagine the pressure Zack Snyder must have faced when remaking Dawn of the Dead. Not only is the original a horror classic (created by the King of Zombies, George Romero) but it did something for the horror genre that very few films are able to do. Fortunately for all of us, as well as Snyder, he manages to produce a film that's both original and scary and reminds us that zombies are not to be f**ked with and that our neighborhood shopping malls prove to be the best place to lay low given the apocalypse. 

The end of the world starts on Black Friday.

Dawn of the Dead follows Ana (Sarah Polley) a nurse who suffers through one of the greatest film openings of all time. While fleeing from the undead, she meets up with Kenneth (Ving Rhames), Michael (Jake Weber), and Andre (Mekhi Phifer) and his wife, Luda (Inna Korobkina). The group make their way to what they believe to the a safe haven, the mall. Upon arriving they run into a trio of security guards that want nothing to do with outsiders. After a bit of mall-prison, the survivors are introduced to a truck load of people, all trying to get by as well which means more zombie deaths are on the way (the bigger the cast, the more the blood). So, as a newly united band of undead-fighting brothers, the gang try to figure out a way to escape the mall (that's now been compromised) and reach safety or rescue. 

There is also absolutely no piece of shit, annoying little brat, Carl. 

In 2002 28 Days Later changed the "zombie" genre. Sure, they were never called such things but the Rage-infected people closely resembled zombies. Danny Boyle made them fast, driven by adrenaline and anger. Upon these changes, the infected became absolutely terrifying as they chase their victims down. Snyder "borrows" this idea and turns the zombies in Dawn of the Dead into hordes of fast-moving, screaming monsters, doing whatever it takes to get to the appetizing bags of flesh. It's one of the things that turn Dawn of the Dead into something memorable and much scarier and 'cooler' than your regular zombie movie. Along with the speed-change, Snyder is very generous with the blood and gore, giving us plenty of decapitations, head-shots, limb tears, and more. Dawn of the Dead really feels like a video game, implementing clever camera tricks, limited ammo, and enough stuck-in-the-corner moments that make you nervous for the characters. 

Holy Romero, Batman! That's one fat zombie!

Unlike most horror movies, Dawn of the Dead has a very likable cast, with each actor playing their roles wonderfully. Sarah Polley is tough enough to kick ass but also has that damsel-in-distress attitude that shows she can't do it all on her own. Her male counterpart played by Michael Kelly is just as convincing. He's the every-man turned hero that is morally good and wants to do right and save as many people as he can. Then of course, you have Ving "I Don't Look Like a Bitch" Rhames, whose presence alone heightens the film into a new realm of badass. It's also really weird (but entertaining) seeing Ty Burrell in a role that's a complete opposite of his Phil in Modern Family. Dawn of the Dead features a handful of other recognizable faces thrown into the surviving mix as well as a couple of zombies that resemble certain celebrities. 

I pray that this man never has to face the end of the world. Although I'd definitely watch it... 

Dawn of the Dead is a movie I have to watch every year around Halloween. It's one of those movies that needs to be seen and is arguably one of the best debut films of any director. Snyder manages to give us a refreshing look at the zombie genre and injects his own style and humor into the end of the world. It's a bloody good time that is also scary and tells a story that's simple, yet effective. Unlike most movies today, Dawn of the Dead is an excellent stand alone movie that doesn't rely on the crutch of having a sequel. It's unique, it's funny, and it wears it's R-rating with pride. I highly recommend this movie. 

The Good:
a great cast of seemingly relatable and genuine people all thrown into a very apocalyptic circumstance
The Better:
taking a familiar story and making it completely fresh without feeling like an actual remake
The Best:
a lot of blood, a lot of gore, and plenty of scares that keep the entire movie interesting... as well as a few rather creative kills



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At October 20, 2012 at 8:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great write up. Zack's strongest film to date. I love his take on Romero's classic. I wouldn't change a thing.

At October 20, 2012 at 8:50 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Thank you! The more I think about it, the more I'm pretty certain that this is Snyder's best movie. And I agree, I wouldn't change anything.

At October 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey now, Carl kicked super tail with his little silencer pistol in the premiere!

At October 20, 2012 at 10:10 PM , Blogger Nick said...

One brief moment doesn't save him.

At October 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey now. Give him a chance, he's a growing boy, LOL, still has a season to prove to you that he is the closest thing to Nic Cage

At October 21, 2012 at 6:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review this is one of my favorite movies. Idk about this being his best films 300 or Watchmen hard to beat in my opinion.

At October 21, 2012 at 7:04 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I think Watchmen is the only one that can give it a run for its money but 300 is more fun than great.

At October 22, 2012 at 7:30 AM , Blogger Brittani Burnham said...

This is one of the few instances where I like the remake better than the original. I thought it was great. I'm also glad there was no "Carl" in it either. :)

At October 22, 2012 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Haha yes. And I have to agree, I think I prefer this one over the original as well.

At October 22, 2012 at 7:50 PM , Anonymous Andy said...

Love this one - Maybe the only Snyder film I really like

At October 22, 2012 at 7:51 PM , Blogger Nick said...

No love for 300? Watchmen? The GLORIOUS masterpiece- Sucker Punch? lol


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