Dawn of the Dead (1978) Review

7 out of 10 Skulls
Written by: TerrorCorner   

With "Night of the Living Dead", George Romero changed the face of horror movies forever by presenting us with a new, horrific entity to haunt our dreams... and provide the horror genre new ways to splash us with crimson blood and meaty innards.  Such was the birth of the modern zombie.

With "Dawn of the Dead", Romero expands the mythos behind the rising of the dead, and builds on the wide spread nature of this uprising- turning it from a localized incident to a national (and possibly global) situation... breeding the start of the famous zombie apocalypse.

As the dead rise from their graves, four people seek refuge inside of a shopping mall.  There, they revel in having all of their material desires satisfied, and living without laws.  All the while, the zombies shamble outside the walls of their palace.  As the zombies masses grow larger and larger, their consumer utopia begins to becomes a prison, and death seems to come closer and closer to them...

As a kid, I thought it would be cool to live in a shopping mall... at least I did until I watched, "Dawn of the Dead".  Building on "Night of the Living Dead", Romero presents with an almost dreamlike movie jabbing at our consumer based society.  Zombies mindless migrate towards the mall the way many mindless shoppers migrate to the malls with every "Special" and "Sale" that is put forth to them.  This jab at the material view of our society is part of why this movie succeeds.

The story, though simple, is a sufficient springboard for the action and the carnage presented.  The characters are written like normal people, and the progression of events follows each other naturally and fluidly.

The zombies and the gore are memorable.  The sight of zombies slathering against the glass doors remind me of the crowds of people camping out for the "Tickle Me Elmo" doll, and "The Cabbage Patch Kids", and pressing against the doors waiting to get in.  The blood is a bright red colour- almost comic bookish, and adds to the unreality of the whole situation.

The acting wasn't the greatest I've seen, but was still enjoyable.  Of course, it's the zombies that actually steal the show. Sure, the faster, leaner zombies of the 2004 "re-imagining" are scary, but there's something about the slow, inevitable approach of the shambling Death that's just as scary... because it's coming for us all...

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