Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Wow. Let me first start off by saying that I can't believe I've not reviewed this before, as I've seen it probably a good three or four times. I don't know how it's managed to slip through the cracks, but I'll make up for that fact by coming up with a nice juicy review today...
Plotline: Ana wakes up one morning to find that the world has gone horribly horribly awry--a young child from the neighborhood is standing in the doorway of her bedroom, and within seconds, she's ripped out the throat of Ana's husband. After dying from massive blood-loss, Ana's husband suddenly comes back to "life" and attacks Ana. She escapes, only to find that things are even worse outside--neighbors are being attacked by other neighbors, buildings are in flames, people are being dragged out of their cars. After crashing her car, she meets up with a group of refugees and they manage to make it to a nearby mall and hole themselves up inside. They spend weeks, maybe months, there, dealing with the aftermath of dead loved-ones, and trying to keep the zombies at bay. Eventually, they realize that life is perhaps not worth living if it means spending the remainder of it trapped inside a mall, so they attempt to make their escape.
Scariness factor: Holy shit--this movie has *GREAT* fricking zombies, almost as good as those terrifying freaks in 28 Days Later.
Gross-Out Factor: Oh, man. You are in store for a blood-fest. I mean, seriously--decapitation, heads exploding left and right from gunshots, ripped off limbs, blood blood blood. Seriously--this is not for the squeamish.
Complaints: I am at a loss. I normally don't like remakes (in fact, they normally piss me off--how 'bout coming up with *new* ideas, people???), but this movie kicks ass.
High Points: The first 15 minutes of this movie (through the opening credits) are, perhaps, the best first 15 minutes of a horror flick I've seen. Unsettling, shocking, manic, and terrifying. Good good stuff. I also dig this movie because it never takes itself too seriously--if you're gonna do a remake of a horror flick, particularly a classic, then you best have a sense of humor. And the sense of humor in this one is PERFECT--from games the refugees play of shooting celebrity look-alike zombies, to the sarcasm of the slimebally ship-captain, it's hard not to find yourself laughing throughout (and then feeling a bit disturbed about laughing, since some of it is directed at people getting shot up). Sarah Polley is in this movie, and she offers it some serious grounding, simply because she is a damn good actress and makes everything seem that much more believable. The special effects are phenomenal. I usually squirm and close my eyes at the sight of people getting their heads blown off, but in this flick, I found myself appreciating the skill that went into all that (disturbing, fucked up, creepy skill, but skill nonethless). The soundtrack is perfect--from the cheery Johnny Cash song in the opening credits, synced up to horrible images of death and destruction, to the campy Richard Cheese cover of "Down with the Sickness" later on in the flick. What else? (As if I haven't given you enough reason to see it just with all that.)
Overall: A must-see. Purists will probably hate it in comparison with the original--it lacks some of the social commentary (though I would argue it still offers up a pretty cynical examination of modern-culture, though not so much one focused on consumerism) and it is at times very MTV-slick in its imagery. But it's damn scary, the zombies will make you shit your pants, and it offers up one of the creepier images of an apocalyptic world with no hope of redemption. Go out. Rent it. Now.
Labels: A movies