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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dawn of the Dead Is the 'Empire' of Zombie Films



Dawn of the Dead = 4 and 1/2 out of 5
Francine Parker: What are they doing? Why do they come here?
Stephen: Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.
The first zombie sequel from George A. Romero.  This film is just as good as Night of the Living Dead, but different in many ways.  The original 'Dawn' is broader in its scope and more a social commentary about American consumerism mixed with satirical views on some of regular culture's habits.  That being said, the film is still mixed with horror goodness, done so with an almost comic booky feel to the horrific violence that the zombies add.  It's more leisurely in pace, but a great film nonetheless.


Dr. Foster: Every dead body that is not exterminated becomes one of them. It gets up and kills! The people it kills get up and kill!
Not necessarily keeping up with time continuity, this film is set after the first, but jumps ahead 10 years, acting as if the zombie epidemic has still only just started to occur a few weeks or a month ago.  A pilot, a news reporter, and two SWAT team members manage to get a helicopter and attempt to get away from zombie infested areas.  Eventually they end up at a mall, but despite it being filled with members of the undead, the group decides to fortify the area and attempt to make a new life from within.  If only it was that simple.

What's nice is that the movie takes a lot of time to think about it's characters between the carnage and has a very comical look on the basic end of life.  Much of the film is entirely devoted to the main cast, with a while going by where we actually stop seeing zombies all together.  It's a very interesting take on this sort of film, but it also has the maturity and assured filmmaking of someone willing to take unique sort of steps.  There is also the added social commentary I mentioned previously that puts one right at home with Romero's style.
Peter: When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.
George A. Romero makes sure that we come to know all of the four main characters, providing a long time in the mall that doesn't revolve around zombie violence.  However, this is still a zombie film, and there are plenty of sequences that remind us of this.  Much different than Night or this film's sequel - Day, Romero made this film basically in the style of a comic book, with plenty of bright colors, a very specific look to the blood, and even added sound effects and Muzak to accompany the world of the mall the movie takes place in.  Some may be put off, but I really love watching this flick.

Mixed with its comicy tone, crazy violence, fun soundtrack and developed characters, this is another quality entry in a line of zombie movies.

Peter: How much fuel do we have?
Francine Parker: Not much.
Peter: All right.

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