Dawn of the Dead (DVD, 2009, WS)

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Dawn of the Dead --- The reason remakes of movies are a BAD idea

Jan 12, 2005 (Updated Jan 12, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:First 5-8 minutes, make-up?

Cons:story, plot, dialogue, that it was made, that it made money

The Bottom Line: In one of the worst movies of the year, Dawn of The Dead fails to be anything but an overblown remake.


1978 provided us the first installment of "Dawn of the Dead." George Romero brought it to us, and it was a smashing success at the box office. With a cost of only $1.5 million, it pulled in more than $40 million. That is a success in any way that you look at it. It had been more than 20 years, so Hollywood in all its glamour, decided that it was time to remake the film. Flash forward to 2004, when the new edition of "Dawn of The Dead" was brought to us by Director Zack Snyder. What a surprise, this was his first movie, and was not a good start to his career. Even though the film did pretty well in the theaters this time around too, lets not get blinded by the fact that this movie was seriously lacking.

The plot of this remake stayed similar to the original, where a series of survivors are stranded at a mall in the middle of an epidemic. Zombies are taking over the planet, and we are sitting front row to the end of the world. For those new to this genre of monster films, zombie are humans infected with a plague that first kills the victim, and then causes them to come back to life. When I say come back to life, I mean they are now "the walking dead." They no longer feel pain, and are no longer capable of basic reasoning. The plague breaks out once again, and it is transmitted by the bite of someone who has already been infected. The secret to killing them is revealed later on in the film, so I won't blow that to newcomers of zombie movies.

A lot of famous supporting actors were brought into this film, to give a face to the survivors. Ving Rhames plays a cop, and the main leader of our band of survivors. He is followed by housewife Sarah Polley (Go), Mekhi Phifer (ER, 8 mile) who is an expectant father, and a television salesman played by Jake Weber (Leo, U-571). They must find a way to keep themselves, and other survivors that they comes across, safe from the zombies that are everywhere. It seems that their peril is very likely, and that their survival is something that will not last long. This is where the problems start. Through all of their interactions with "the living dead", not once did I think that this group was afraid, nor did I think that they knew the gravity of their situation. It seems to me they should have been a little bit more scared of their impending doom.

Dawn of the Dead was really a movie that had a good idea at its core, but sold itself, and the audience short. With the exception of the first 5-8 minutes of the film, the film really reeked of being strung together in a hurried fashion. There was terrible dialogue, absolutely no character development, and even less endearing facets of the characters that made us care about them. When people start dieing in the film, you don't even get a sense of why it makes a difference. It just becomes a tedious effort in trying to figure out who will become a victim to the zombies next. Even Phifer, who I have become a big fan of, genuinely disappoints me in his role within the film.

Hollywood has long since figured out that if you make a film based on one that has had past success, that it will most likely succeed again. With "Dawn of The Dead", we have a cookie cutter remake that does not bring anything new to the world of film. By the time I got to the ending of this film, I was very mad at myself for believing the hype about this being the next great horror movie. It fails in every sense of the word, and calling this film a "horror" movie is just a joke. Simply providing us with lots of gore and blood does not make it a horror movie. In fact, by being such a bad film, it takes away a lot from the original movie. We would have been better off not having a remake. Everyone that made money off of this film should be ashamed of themselves, and should quickly make a large donation to their local charities. I recommend passing up this movie, and instead opting to watch something that means to be comedic in its presentation.





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