In my review for the original Romero Dawn of the Dead I deemed it the Godfather of horror films. If that is truly the case then this film is the godson; hip to all the jive of the young folk.
This really is an amped up version of the beloved classic. It features more athletic and ferocious zombies that howl and spit instead of moan and stumble, brilliantly mixing action, comedy, adventure, and horror into one, tight-knit, homage that can and does stand well on its own.
Just as in the original of the same name, Dawn of the Dead takes us on a journey into a world gone to shit… even more so than it already has. Ana (played by Sarah Polley) is a normal young woman who works hard during the day and loves her man at night. She wakes up and finds that the recently dead have gotten up and started to attack the living. Fleeing her warzone of a suburb, she meets up with a police man (played by Ving Rhames) and a young married couple. Together they find temporary shelter in a local shopping mall.
Their situation gets more severe as the hordes of zombies outside the malls door grows larger, essentially blocking their only way out.
This film really throws you right into the action straight away and doesn’t let up throughout. When you aren’t feeling the tension of waiting for something to jump out you are panicking and hopeful that the characters can outrun what is chasing them.
The music doesn’t help either. There is some great music in this film. The original soundtrack by Tyler Bates can only be described as nail-biting. And, whomever chose the tracks that are featured in this film has a very awesome sense of humor. From an instrumental version of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” playing when they first get to the mall to the manly voice of Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” during the main credits, it’s simply a joy to listen to.
Another plus to this film are the blood and gore effects. They are the right mix of computer made and otherwise. Very believable and disgusting.
Zack Snyder really did an amazing job taking a film that was already so good and revamping it for a new audience. He applied his own stylistic vision and essentially left his fingerprint on the history of horror films. Horror movies that are really scary are very few and far between these days, and when I saw this film in the theater, I was genuinely glad that this was made.
Side note: It was a really nice touch featuring Tom Savini and Ken Foree who were both in the original.
I give it 4 and ½ out of 5 stars.