Since 2013, Zack Snyder has become inextricably tied to Superman, Batman, and the Justice League franchise, but horror fans will always remember him for his first directorial effort: 2004’s remake of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Though Snyder has developed significantly since his debut, Dawn of the Dead highlights both strengths and weaknesses that have become the filmmaker’s hallmarks.
It’s ironic that 28 Days Later had such a profound impact on zombie films of the 21st Century, considering it’s not about zombies at all. Snyder’s decision to change slow, shambling zombies into rabid undead predators divided fans and zombie purists. It was a bold deviation from Romero’s established mythologies, but no one can deny that it upped the intensity of the film significantly.
Related Article: 15 Years Later: Exploring the Beauty & Brutality of “28 Days Later”
These and other issues are explored in Ryan Hollinger’s latest video exposition: The Problem (and Brilliance) with DAWN OF THE DEAD. It’s part of the Irish film critic’s Screen Smart series of video essays, some of which we’ve featured on HFN in the past. Hollinger has an incredible aptitude for explaining complex theories in straightforward language, making his videos engrossing and illuminating.
What’s especially interesting about this particular offering is the way Hollinger both reveres and despises Dawn of the Dead, proving these stances need not be mutually exclusive. While noting the film’s many shortcomings he ultimately concludes it’s a supremely entertaining and enduring cinematic experience.
Have a watch and let us know what you think in the Comments section!
About Ryan Hollinger on YouTube: Taking your favourite movies, games, art and entertainment and giving them the in-depth analytical treatment that both informs and delights, like licking the contents of an Oreo before eating the biscuit with your favourite tea or coffee, you self-indulgent git.
Official Synopsis: When her young daughter is turned into a zombie and attacks her father, Ana (Sarah Polley) just manages to escape, only to realize her entire Milwaukee neighborhood has been overrun by the walking dead. After being questioned by cautious policeman Kenneth (Ving Rhames), Ana joins him and a small group that gravitates to the local shopping mall as a bastion of safety. Once they convince suspicious security guards that they are not contaminated, the group bands together to fight the undead hordes.
Related Article: It’s Drama, Not Gore, That Makes John Carpenter’s “The Things” a Terrifying Masterpiece