Dawn Of The Dead

Dawn Of The Dead


Reviewed by: David Stanners

What do you do when 700,000 zombies take to the streets, hungry for flesh and thirsty for blood? Go to the mall of course - where else would you go?

That's what a group of desperate mortals from the leafy suburban town of Everett decide to do one day when their loved ones want to bite a hole in their necks instead of kissing them good night.

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Ana (Sarah Polley) has just finished her shift as a nurse at the hospital. When she returns to her man things seem hunky dory, until they miss that all-important news bulletin putting the town on zombie alert. Big mistake. From here on, a blood bath of carnage ensues as a diaspora of once friendly neighbours - now flesh-eating zombies - make their way from the suburbs to the town centre, getting splattered by oncoming vehicles in the process.

Desperately searching for answers, as well as anyone possessing a hint of normal behaviour, Ana bumps into a cop (Ving Rhames). Together with a few other uninfected survivors, including Michael (Jake Weber), Andre (Mekhi Phifer) and his pregnant wife (Inna Korobkina), they head to the mall to hide. Here they meet security guards with the same save ass ideas - but different methods.

With limited ammo, a lot of argy bargy and a half-baked plan to escape to an uninhabited island via the local marina, they buy some time on the mall roof, picking off zombies at will with their .357s. Resembling an expensive version of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste, blood and brains are sprayed in all directions as the group enjoys some zombie target practice from above.

There's a not a lot more to the film than this. The impressive work in the special effects and make up departments doesn't quite make up for a storyless script. Not that sharp writing is the be all and end all of schlocker zombie pictures, but other recent efforts - most notably 28 Days Later - at least put a plot, however risible, on the board.

Still, there are a few witty one liners, and zombie-isms: as all good zombie enthusiasts know, to kill them, they have to be shot in the head. Half-dead zombies in Everett are known as "twitchers" which have to be put out of their misery immediately. This is amusing in a sick kind of way.

The cinematography is also impressive at times, relying on hand-held cameras to create the mayhem and panic of a hungry zombie just about to tear out your jugular.

The acting is as good as it is required to be. Sarah Polley (Go, Luck) is always watchable, Ving Rhames delivers his usual high-impact mono syllables and Ty Burrell (Steve) adds the odd witticism in a relatively bland script.

In the end, there's not a lot between this and a zombie shoot em up down the local arcade - or mall.

Reviewed on: 25 Mar 2004
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Flesh-eating zombies inhabit the city centre, forcing the few remaining mortals to take cover.
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Read more Dawn Of The Dead reviews:

Keith Hennessey Brown ***1/2

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: James Gunn, George A Romero

Starring: Sarah Polley, Jake Weber, Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer, Inna Korobkina, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth, Jayne Eastwood, Boyd Banks, R D Reid, Kim Poirier, Matt Frewer, Scott Reineger, Ken Foree, Tom Savini

Year: 2004

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


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