Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Fear 2/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5

Zack Snyder directed this remake of the 1978 zombie and gore classic. I liked 300. It was violent, entertaining and both manly as hell and queer as a $3 bill. Sort of like Manowar. He also directed Watchmen which I liked. It was entertaining, fairly true to the original story and was neat to look at. His first directorial effort, 2004's Dawn of Dead however - well I love it. In fact, it's better than the original.

Oh calm down Comicon nerds. If you're having a conniption fit right now, you need to stop complaining about my Ghost Adventurer's post and face the facts.

I'll review Romero's original film at some point, but for now let's all admit the following - despite it's groundbreaking gore effects and clever satire of American culture, it's poorly acted, poorly scripted and way too long. And really, the satire isn't all that clever really. It's not as clever as Night of the Living Dead was.

The remake has lots going for it. For one thing, it's exciting. I know some "purists" are not fans of the fast zombie, but you have to admit that it's always been a little goofy that people couldn't outrun flesh-eaters with a top speed of 2 miles per hour. I happen to like the fast zombie - it's much scarier to me. And there are some undead dudes here who are fucking fast AND creepy. The zombie with one arm sprinting towards the protagonists - yikes man!The legless dude who comes swinging down on the one guy - double yikes!

The script, while pretty faithful to the original concept, is also much better. It was mainly handled by James Gunn who also wrote and directed Slither. And he was married to Jenna Fischer. For one thing, the dialogue lacks the wooden and forced qualities that the original has. It's also kind of funny at times, and occasionally, a little sad. It has some fun twists, but they're not ridiculous - the concept of the entire population turning into man-meat gobbling goblins is ridiculous enough. Basically, the writers knew when to push things and when to pull their punches.

And while both films are uber-gory, the gore in the remake is more "painful" to watch. The exploding head scene that kicks things off in the original is amazing, but there is something more awful about the remake's scene where the truck overturns and the chainsaw winds up in the woman's shoulder. It's just mean.

It's not a perfect film. The characters are a little . . . well stereotypie - the ultra serious cop, the power-trippin' redneck mall cop, the clean cut good dad, the little blonde nurse who surprises everyone with her resilience, the gangsta dude with the heart of gold, etc. etc. The zombies sound like cheetahs for some reason. And the zombie baby scene, well that's just fucking stupid and totally unnecessary.

If you like zombies, gore, action, fun stories and have a love of nihilism, check this one out. Then go back and watch the original. I'm telling you, it's better and that's NOT a knock on the original. It's just a damn good horror movie. And has a cool soundtrack as well.

-Complaint Dept

1 comment:

schooff said...

And it takes place in Milwaukee...which just adds a star.