Dawn of the Dead (2004) Review
Written by: Chad Langen
I think it’s safe to say that we all saw this one coming. With the major success of 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre there was no doubt that we’d see more like it in the future. And with that said comes Dawn of the Dead, a remarkable remake to George A. Romero’s walking dead classic. Not only is this film loaded with over-the-top gore and several brutal situations, but the story is much cleaner and more edgy than the original.
It’s basically the same idea we’ve seen in all of the zombie movies over the last thirty years. Citizens discover that the dead are rising from their graves with a sudden craving for human flesh. They must take refuge and fight for survival against the more annoying than frightening creatures that refuse to remain dead. Although they are extremely viscous and lightning quick this time around, they’ve also somehow obtained the notion of sinking their teeth into their victims necks. More or less, it’s Dracula meets the living dead, or something like that.
That out of the way, Zack Snyder does an incredible job adapting this for the big screen, though it couldn’t be harder seeming that remakes are the key gimmick in the horror genre as of now. His visuals are stunning and his effort is quite fulfilling. The only complaint I have is that he didn’t give us enough pulse-pounding action.
We also get to see a greatly assembled cast. Most notable are veterans Sarah Polly and Ving Rhames. Without the intense performances I’m not sure if the film would have achieved its goal in scaring the audience. Like they say, actions speak louder than words, or that’s at least true in this case.
Newcomer James Gunn does a significant job of bringing a fresh feel to the story. Although his previous works include Scooby Doo, this is his first attempt at a horror film. In my opinion he pulled it off pretty well. His dark humor and snappy dialogue is seen in every aspect of the film.
The effects were probably one of the most astonishing things in the film. No sign of CGI can be spotted. I say this because the advancement of Hollywood creatures is usually done by CGI, which gives most of them an odd and usually disappointing look.
My final take on the film is that Hollywood can construct a decent remake. Its not only seen here, but also in the updated version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Although based on previous material, they both bring something new and unique to the story making them successful in several noticeable ways.