George A. Romero (1978 screenplay) and James Gunn (screenplay)
Sarah Polley as Ana
Ving Rhames as Kenneth
Jake Weber as Michael
Ty Burrell as Steve
Michael Kelly as CJ
Let me begin by saying that when I heard thatDawn of the Dead was to be remade, I had my reservations. Then I discovered that the film was to be directed by a television commercial director. Let me say, without losing my religion, that I was perturbed to the point of refusing to view the film.
The problem with a personal boycott is that I do love me some zombies, so when it was released in the theater I found myself being led uncontrollably to the local multiplex, gleefully throwing my money down, and rubbing my hands together anxiously waiting for the show to begin. I am now glad that I did.
You must begin viewing this film with the proper knowledge. The only things that make Dawn of the Dead 2004 a “remake” are that the stars of the movie run into a mall, there are a bunch of zombies, and the movie title just happens to be the same as the 1978 original. If you keep that in mind, you should have an enjoyable time watching.
As the movie starts our heroine, Ana (Sarah Polley), is heading home from a very hard and long day at work (she is a nurse). Her husband happens to be waiting for her in the bedroom (as we husbands have a habit of doing) and after a little idle chatter they start to get busy.
Ironically, while the young lovers are doing the wild thing in the shower, a breaking news story about an unknown virus that is spreading around the community is showing on the unwatched television. Side effect to this virus? The dead come back to life with a craving for human flesh. Mmmmm.
When the morning breaks, Ana and husband are awakened by a neighborhood child entering their bedroom. (Must be a safe community huh?) Husband gets up to see what is the matter and gets a piece of neck bitten out by said neighborhood child. Husband bleeds out on the bed and dies. Can anyone see where this is going?
In just a matter of seconds, the husband becomes a raving lunatic zombie going after our heroine – who manages to lock herself in the bathroom. She narrowly escapes through the bathroom window only to find out that the world has changed overnight. Carnage and mayhem ensue.
Ana later meets some other people that have survived the zombie outbreak and they all head to a shopping mall. There they find other survivors, have run-ins with very cool looking zombies (I liked the twitchers myself), and decide to make a mad dash through town in armored shuttle busses (very ingenious I must say). The goal? Make their way to the docks so they can steal a boat and escape to anywhere but where they are right now.
Purists will recognize cameos by Ken Foree (the televangelist), Tom Savini (the sheriff), and Scott Reiniger (the general) from the original Dawn of the Dead. All in all, Zack Snyder and James Gunn (screenwriter) have created a well done zombie movie in Dawn of the Dead 2004.
Now to the DVD: In my opinion, the only way to own Dawn of the Dead 2004 is to get your hands on the unrated version – if not for the extra nine minutes of footage, then for the DVD extras that are only available on this version.
•Splitting Headaches: Anatomy of Exploding Heads takes you behind the scenes, showing you how they made the head-kills look so realistic. (Very cool)•Raising the Dead is another behind the scenes look, this time on turning the actors into zombies. (Hoorah)
•Attack of the Living Dead is yet another behind the scenes, this time on some of the zombie kills. (That rocks)
Whether you have bypassed this film because of preconceived notions of a bad redo of a Romero classic or you just haven’t been able to pull yourself away from that all night marathon of Buffy reruns, do yourself a favor and watch Dawn of the Dead 2004. You’ll be glad you did.