Dawn of the Dead is concrete proof that extreme gore and violence
doesn't always equal a dumb movie and that the two can make very nice
bedfellows indeed. This film is a rare thing in that it will please
both gorehounds and fans of art cinema, and there isn't a vast amount
of films that do that. Aside from doing what I've just mentioned, this
follow up to Night of the Living Dead established George Romero as a
household name in many a gore fan's home and his trilogy of zombie
films will ensure for ever more that the name 'Romero' and the zombie
film will always go hand in hand. The plot of this film follows four
survivors of the zombie apocalypse that has ensued after the events of
Night of the Living Dead as they hold up in a shopping mall to try and
hide from the events going on in the outside world. However, this poses
another problem, as once their home has been built up in the midst of
the atrocities; will our hero's be able to give up all that they have
The commentary on society and the trappings of consumerism that Romero appears to be keen to implement in his film come off as being somewhat muddled, due to the fact that it's lost under the reality that what we see our hero's doing makes absolute perfect sense. This, however, is where the genius behind the commentary comes into play; it's a depiction of what people within a consumerist society would do in this situation, which makes the commentary all the more potent. Despite it being a film about zombies, Romero implements a sense of realism into the proceedings, which works due to the fact that he never overindulges in anything. Sure, the gore towards the end is over the top; but even that is realistic as it is what you would expect a zombie massacre to be. Because of his sense of realism, we are able to care for the characters that Romero has presented us with, even though we really know little about them. The audience is able to put themselves into their situation and we are constantly given the feeling that we are actually involved in the events on screen. This makes the ending of the movie more potent by way of the sense of security that Romero has lulled you into throughout the movie, and at the end; we really feel for what is happening to our characters and even though we want to see the massacre happen (as that's why we're watching the film at the end of the day), we sort of don't want to see it at the same time. This kind of mind-game isn't carried off successfully very often, but Romero has it down to an art form here.
The movie benefits massively from a great score by Dario Argento's house band, Goblin. In fact, with the obvious exception of Suspiria; I would even go as far as to say that this is their best work ever. The score blends so well with the happenings on screen that it's impossible to have one without the other. Some films have a superfluous score, or one that doesn't add anything to the film; but it's undeniable that the score of Dawn of the Dead not only adds to what we're seeing, but 'makes' it. As many people will be tuning in to see gore, I am pleased to tell you that this film doesn't disappoint in that respect. It's one of the goriest films ever made, with many sequences reaching a level of disgustingness that is rarely seen in cinema (intestine dinner, anyone?). As you are probably aware, Tom Savini did the make-up effects for Dawn of the Dead and it is the film that made his career and established him as the gore guru that he is often seen as today. The film is also notable for a certain line that has been quoted more times than any other line uttered in any other horror movie. I am of course talking about the fabulous; "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth".
Dawn of the Dead is undoubtedly one of the most important films ever made. It inspired a barrage of rip-off's that are still being made today and it stands tall on many a horror fan's list of favourite horror films. Dawn of the Dead is one of the most recent films to inspire a remake and, unfortunately, it turned out to be terrible. Not that it matters, as the original is where it's at; and this film is an undeniable masterpiece.
Dawn of the Dead
Action / Horror / Thriller
Dawn of the Dead
Action / Horror / Thriller
Following the events of Night of the Living Dead (1968), we follow the exploits of four survivors of the expanding zombie apocalypse as they take refuge in an abandoned shopping mall following a horrific SWAT evacuation of an apartment complex. Taking stock of their surroundings, they arm themselves, lock down the mall, and destroy the zombies inside so they can eke out a living--at least for a while. Tensions begin to build as months go on, and they come to realize that they've fallen prey to consumerism. Soon afterward, they have even heavier problems to worry about, as a large gang of bikers discovers the mall and invades it, ruining the survivors' best-laid plans and forcing them to fight off both lethal bandits and flesh-eating zombies.
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February 16, 2015 at 11:45 AM