Dawn of the Dead Review
Written by: Daniel
His second installment to one of the greatest epic adventure ever to light up the silver screen, George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD is an intimate look at the trials and tribulation faced by humanity during apocolyptic times. A zombie holocaust, beginning with 1968's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, has spread beyond borders and rages on unhindered by forces of government and society. Fleeing the city, a band of survivors work together to secure and survive within the walls of a suburban shopping mall.
In a chaotic, anxiety inducing frenzy, the local news station is reporting on the epidemic in an attempt to give it's viewers information on what to do and where to go for help. Foulmouthed, angry newsmen debate the issue on camera, saying the dead will return to life, attack the living, and continue the cycle of killing, infection, and killing. The staff at the station becomes fanatical and anarchy ensues. Fran, one of those in charge, soon realizes she is fighting a losing battle against the angry mob. Her traffic reporter boyfriend, Steven, lets her know that they are going to steal the traffic helicoptor later that evening and get out of town in the company of his friend, a national guardsman named Roger.
Nearby on location at a local project housing complex, the National Guard is negotiating with the resident militia to cease control of the building and evacuate it's citizens. A gun battle breaks out between the two forces, and the Guard invades the building. Some of the bloodiest, maddest violence in cinematic history occur during the next ten minutes inside the building.
Disgusted with the events that unfold, Roger is befriended by fellow man in arms named Peter. After discussing how the military is fighting a losing battle, Roger tells Peter to come along with them in the helicopter later that evening, and he agrees.
The foursome meets, and begin their journey to whatever safe place they can find. After a few close calls, and a fly-by look at what is occurring on the ground, they come across a large shopping mall and decide to get supplies. Finding a somewhat isolated office on the upper floor, they spend the afternoon resting and coming to terms with what to do next. Before long, they realize that all the materials and supplies in the mall are too good to just leave. A plan is hatched, and they go about securing the building and exterminating the tresspassing window shopping zombies inside.
The clan grows increasingly restless after weeks, and months, of isolation. The daily routine is no longer novel, instead, having everything at their fingertips has taken away their spirit. One day, they are contacted on the radio by a group of scavengers who threaten to come take the mall. Showing how the greed of man comes to no end, the scavengers loot the mall, and end up in a fight with the foursome who is not so willing to just let all their hard work be destroyed without a confrontation.
The reason for DAWN's legitimacy today is not hard to note. It is a socially progressive film, detailing the vulnerability of institutions when rules and regulations do not apply. Going unchecked, people are in a race of personal survival and let go of the constrains of dignity, responsibility, and respect for a society when it can no longer protect and serve them. Riding on the leftovers, the survivors can not be free until they reject the bits of the old way of life they so desperately cling to and move toward a more practical and natural existence.
The quintessential zombie flick for all times, and one of the greatest films of any kind, DAWN OF THE DEAD is a trendsetter from which a genre emerged. Romero has followed up the film with two sequels to date, and plans on more to come. Other directors, certainly inspired by Romero, have made incredible additions to an ever growing collection of zombie films, however, none have accomplished the task as wonderfully as was done with DAWN.