Ah, here we go with the second entry in our Revisiting Remakes series. This time we take a look at the 2004 remake of the 1978 George Romero masterpiece, Dawn of the Dead.
Y'know, it takes a lot of balls to remake one of the all time classic zombie movies in horror history. You know going in that people are going to despise it. Lots of people won't even give it a chance. It's pretty amazing when someone takes a beloved franchise and actually honors it while still giving something new. That's exactly what happened with 2004's Dawn of the Dead.
Before Zak Snyder was butchering Superman and the DC Universe, he was actually doing a good job taking other properties and adapting it for a modern audience. Let's face it, as groundbreaking and historical as the original Dawn of the Dead is, a lot of modern horror fans would be bored to tears and/or just complete ignore it. The 2004 version takes the idea behind it (people trapped in a mall during a zombie outbreak) and completely updates it while giving us a new story with some great moments. It's not like the unnecessary shot for shot remake of Psycho.
These are not the slow moving zombies of Romero's 60's and 70's. These zombies can really move. It adds a new dimension. Not only can you be completely overwhelmed by the undead, but now it's even tougher to avoid them. This isn't the first movie with fast zombies, but it certainly was one of the reasons why zombies ever since have been quicker.
The opening credit sequence montage of news clips attempting to explain the outbreak set to the tune of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around," is masterful and really sets the tone for how this one is going to play out. You're thrown right into the action from the opening scene. Just like in the original, it's great to see how the main cast meet up and interact with each other during this time of extreme horror.
Overall, what it lacks in social morality that the original film excels at, it makes up for in straight up gore and fun. There's some humor mixed into the despair thanks to the screenplay of James Gunn. While this one will never overtake the place in horror history that Romero's version has rightfully claimed, Snyder's Dawn of the Dead definitely earns its place as one of the best horror movie remakes.
If you haven't yet, give it a shot.
|Our Rating: 3.5/5|