Dawn of the Dead (2004) Review
Written by: BlackTequilaKiss
A refreshing breath of air. As horror fans we see it as our duty to hate any remake so when such a movie turns out well, it's a wonderful surprise. Of course compared to the original, it is never going to be as good but overall this is a fun and entertaining ride.
It boosts a good, reliable cast and as usual of a movie based around a Romero classic, layered in gore, what could be better!
Plotline: In one fell night the world has become a living, breathing nightmare. Ana Clark, a nurse, manages to escape a terrifying situation in her Wisconsin home, soon after which she runs into a small group of others who have managed to survive. Taking refuge in an abandoned suburban mall, the undead attempt to break into the mall, the survivors must learn to co-exist with one another and use anything to hand to survive the fight to maintain their existence and more importantly, their humanity.
I loved this movie. I loved the original and adore that this stayed, for the most part, respectful to the original adaptation.
One thing that really got me about this was the casting choice. Sarah Polley as Ana was inspired. She has tantalisingly good looks but is much more than a pretty face. Muscles, intellect and a depth of understanding she added another layer to what could have easily been a one dimensional character. I respect and love Polley, truly hope to see more of her in the future!
Ving Rhames as Kenneth.
Great actor, nice range nothing more needs saying. But... he is the man!
What else made this remake work, where so many others have failed?
One: I don't think this ever tried to be anything different. What you see is really what you get.
Two: Zack Snyder evidently respected and understood why the original is so well received. Therefore instead of trying to change everything, there are instead subtle changes that do not ruin the course of the film and...
Three: He chose actors who fit perfectly. Some are quite well known but two of the more prominent roles go to relatively new faces. His choices were indeed smart.
Of course for the more prevalent, we go to the different elements of the film. Cinematography, score and the catalyst, the special effects.
The score is beautiful. Tension rises up in the shocking scenes and then the quiet overtone in the moments when everything slows to crispier, finer scenes. It teases the ears and never ruins scenes within the film.
Cinematography; don't ask me why but there is something rather enjoyable about normal suburbs turning into bloody battlefields. Supposedly gorgeous places becoming horror scenes is a feast for the eyes. Pictures of devastation around the world from the sunniest climates to frozen lands, they do not skip on the small intricate detail to the plot.
The gore/ special effects was one of the imminent factors. In the original Dawn of the Dead it was mental, well and truly. So what in this one? It's hard to describe because while it is just as insane (the birth scene everyone?!), it also seems more refined. Yes, there were lashings of blood and guts but this also uses the implied as well. Snyder knew how to work this angle, he did an exceptional job of making everything tangible together.
Like I said I love this movie. It's simple with a great cast. The director put heart and soul into each moment. Brilliant how it builds up to a magnificent showdown. As said before this succeeds because it remains ever faithful to the original, introduces likeable characters and ranks in tension for the gore.
The ending is truly chilling and ticks pretty much every box. I admit there are flaws, which knocks the rating down to 8 out of 10, but it is worth the watch. You want pure nasty fun? Then watch this!