Tis the Season to be SCARED. Dawn of the Dead (2004) Review

I was going to start this days ago but since going back to Uni (starting my third and final year) I’ve been very busy.

This Halloween I’m hoping to crank out four reviews, one for each week of October. They’re all going to be of horror films I’ve known for years, so it should be a fun Halloween for me as I’ll finally get to write down why I love these films.

This week I’m going to start by looking at the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.

Dawn of the Dead (2004) pic
Was in the mood for this one.

It’s an epic, thrilling and intense horror film with its unstoppable zombies and escalating plot. The premise is pretty much the same as the original. All over the world the dead have risen and a group of the living are forced to take refuge in a shopping mall.

The Originality

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The Original Dawn of the Dead directed by the late George A. Romero.

It’s impossible to talk about this film without mentioning the influential 1978 film. I see the remake as just another take on the same premise. After all there’s a lot you could do story wise with survivors locking themselves in a mall during a zombie apocalypse.

Unlike the 1978 film, the plot focuses more on the survivors’ struggle to keep the zombies out and escape the mall, rather than on them simply living in the mall. I don’t think this film should be measured by the original’s standards, it should be viewed as its own piece because that’s what it is. A serious, action-packed, large-scale zombie film, something the original is not in my opinion.

The Zombies

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A swarm of zombies pursue the survivors [Credit: Universal]
With a Hollywood budget Dawn of the Dead is able to depict thousands of sprinting flesh eaters that can fill up a room like water. The idea of someone ripping you apart and eating you alive is terrifying enough, so when seeing an army of people in Dawn of the Dead, sprinting at our protagonists and trying to eat them, it’s a physically intense experience. Whenever they appear you feel like panicking and dashing away.

The zombies drive terror and adrenaline into the film, making Dawn of the Dead a heart racing experience.

The Plot

While time is devoted to the characters and their struggles at cooperation, most of the plot focuses on their struggle against the zombies, both those outside the mall and inside the mall that have not yet manifested.

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[Credit: Universal]
The stakes are low at first, concerning only the security of the mall and disposing the infected survivors. However, the stakes are immediately heightened when the survivors want to leave the mall. This leads to an incredible climax full of zombies, gore, running and panic.

With its original take on a familiar premise, terrifying zombies and escalating plot, Dawn of the Dead is an amazing film and I recommend it to everyone for this Halloween.

I give Dawn of the Dead a thrilling 8 out of 10.

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