Dawn of the Dead (2004) – Zack Snyder

It takes guts to want to remake a Romero zombie classic, but that’s where we are with the next zombie film featured in DK Canada’s highly enjoyable Monsters in the Movies book. Zack Snyder, a wonderfully visual director, who never actually seems to be able to handle story and character (or any measure of subtlety) is behind the camera, and he’s working off a script by James Gunn.

The film features Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames and seems to eschew a number of the themes that underlined the story of the original incarnation of the film, instead letting action and scares play out in a fairly well-balanced gore fest that lacks the meaning of the Romero film.

Yes, there is a mall involved in a good portion of the story, but in the end, unlike the original film, the story amounts to a bunch of not so clever people making very poor life choices.

The beauty of some of these survival horror type films is trying to figure out how you would react, yourself, and if you could walk that line between compassionate humanity and cold, calculating survival.


There is definitely a fun element to the film, and it’s cool to see this take on fast zombies, while giving nods via homage and cameos to the original film. It’s also wonderfully gory, and not afraid to embrace and show it off.

It’s also a lot of fun seeing someone like Polly in a film like this as it’s a genre she doesn’t delve into a lot. She handles it easily, and seems very comfortable in the role, and is arguably the best actor in the film, trying to layer her performance while grounding it in the reality of the moment.

The film definitely delights in its kills, and its gore, and the creativity behind some of them is pretty cool.

Snyder has never been a favorite director of mine, but he definitely knows how to keep the story moving, and there is always a lot of movement and activity in each of his frames. Consequently, you buckle up for a fun, bloody ride, while trying to ignore lapses in judgment, and intelligence.

This film came along with the rebirth of the zombie genre, it had seemed to stall for a while in both film and television, and right around the time of this release, along with some other notable titles, it launched itself into the mainstay horror staple that it has become again.

This one is worth the watch, but the original has more substance. Either one is suitably bloody, and if that’s your thing, pick up a copy of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies and find something to watch tonight!


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