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Dawn of the Dead review + poll

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Did you like Dawn of the Dead 2004?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2004 2:07 am    Post subject: Dawn of the Dead review + poll Reply with quote

When I first heard about the remake for “Dawn of the Dead,” I was skeptical about the idea, to say the least. Actually, I hated the idea. The original Dawn is perhaps my favorite horror movie, right up there with The Exorcist, Halloween, and the other films in Romero’s Zombie saga. The last thing I wanted to see is my favorite horror film get the Hollywood shaft, with the new creators delivering a film that’s all style and no substance. I saw the film with my fellow zombie-lovin’ friends on opening night, March 19, and I have to admit – they did a pretty good job.

It's not a bad horror film, and even though I had a few problems with it, I overall enjoyed it. I was even surprised when my friends, who saw it with me and are even bigger fans of horror and Romero's films, came out of the theater liking it, but they also had some of the same problems that I had, most noticeably a lack of characterization for a few of the “important” characters, such as Sarah Polley (who seems to fade into the background as the movie progresses), Ving Rhames (who could have been an even cooler character given if only given more screen time), and Mekhi Phifer (who undergoes a rather quick an unexplained transformation during the film – if you’ve seen it, you know what I mean). The only character that gets some development is Jake Weber’s “Michael,” and the reasons why come into play at the end. Another audience-pleasing performance was Ty Burrell’s “Steve,” a sarcastic yuppie-type who steals the show when he enters the mall later in the film.

One thing I really liked was how the style of the direction changed as the film progressed. Shots were looser and more open as they entered and occupied the mall, but as things got worse, the film became more cropped, closing in on the survivors. Also the frenetic, hand-held camera feel during the final act of the film was a nice effect, too, giving the impression that things were happening very fast and quick reflexes were necessary to survive.

The gore was quite impressive - headshots a’ plenty, and some unique zombie kills highlight the film. No scenes of zombies chowing down on dead body parts, unfortunately. But that gets redeemed by the "chainsaw girl" scene . . . never saw that coming . . . hoo boy did the audience I saw the film with love that bit, and so did I. Considering 5 minutes of gore was trimmed by the MPAA, I was surprised what did make it in the final cut. It will be curious to see what gets added to the eventual DVD release.

Not as great as the original, but still a fun time at the movies. I would have liked to see more development of a few characters, and there is a logic error or three to be found, but Dawn of the Dead is a worthwhile zombie flick none-the-less.

Final Score:
***1/2 out of *****
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