Dawn of the Dead (2004)

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8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking horror film with a good cast

The original was great and didn't necessarily need to be remade

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Dawn of the Dead

Studio:  Strike Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  March 19, 2004

MPAA Rating:  R

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So…do we have problems?

Ana (Sarah Polley) is a nurse who finds her world turned upside down in a moment.  Waking up to see her young neighbor murder her husband and in turn her husband try to kill her, Ana discovers the dead are alive and inspection is spreading.  Ana flees and finds herself trapped at the mall with a group of survivors.  Surrounded by zombies, the mall is their home and safety…but as time passes and help is unavailable, leaving home might be necessary.

Directed by Zack Snyder, Dawn of the Dead is a remake of the George A. Romero 1978 classic horror film.  The movie was well received by critics and a box office smash.  It was credited with other contemporary zombie films to help reinvent the zombie genre.

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Someone said there was punch & pie!!!

Dawn of the Dead was a great film and the idea of remaking it by amping up the action and horror sounded like a horrible idea.  Going to the theater to see Dawn of the Dead, I didn’t quite know what to expect.  What I got was a stylish and fun horror film that didn’t ruin the original and is one of the better remakes around.

One of the original Dawn of the Dead’s slight problems was that the pacing was odd.  Here, you hit the ground running…literally.  Much like 28 Days Later, these zombies aren’t lumbering flesheaters and really can move.  This adds a lot of urgency to the plot of the film and makes for some tense moments.  Much like the original film, I don’t necessarily see how abandoning the mall so soon is a good idea but the character here have a good plan (though poorly executed) to go to an island…the credits however reveal how that turned out.

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I want my pacifier…or a human thumb will work!

The cast is great.  Sarah Polley always adds a bit of class to films and makes unique choices.  Ving Rhames provides the muscles and Michael Kelly is the good redneck (and a bit of a precursor to Daryl in The Walking Dead in my opinion).  Jake Weber is likable as the Best Buy employee turned hero and the award for dumbest character has to be Mekhi Phifer and his zombie baby.  With the rise of Modern Family, it is weird to see Ty Burrell playing essentially his Phil Dunphy character as an ass.  There is also a cameo from original Dawn of the Dead survivor Ken Foree as a televangist.

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A bad trip to the dentist

The movie is a gorefest and that is what it needed to be.  No more blue looking zombies, but gross drippy creatures that look intimidating.  Zack Snyder often overdoes his films with crazy edits and extreme camera stuff, but Dawn of the Dead is quite controlled and maybe his most mainstream film.

Dawn of the Dead is a good horror film and a fun thrill ride.  With enough tweaks, you could watch the original Dawn of the Dead back-to-back with the new Dawn of the Dead and not feel like you are watching the same film.  A sequel was planned called Army of the Dead but plans were scrapped.  Despite having Ving Rhames, a Day of the Dead remake in 2008 was not a sequel to this film.

Related Links:

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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