out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Dawn of the Dead
|*Also starring: ||Mekhi Phifer, Jake Weber, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Lindy Booth, Matt Austin, Boyd Banks, Jayne Eastwood, Ken Foree, Matt Frewer||
Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4
Playing like a cross between a National Rife Association ad and a rip-off of 28
DAYS LATER, DAWN OF THE DEAD is actually a remake of the 1978 film of the same
name. As an extended teaser, the first ten minutes of the movie were shown
recently on national television. This was a brilliant marketing strategy since
this beginning segment of mayhem and death is the only consistently satisfying
part of the picture. Most of the movie has as much dead air as dead bodies.
The movie clearly wants to ride on the successful coattails of 28 DAYS LATER,
another zombie flick. It is even shot and edited in the same grainy and jumpy
style. But, while 28 DAYS LATER was an intelligent science fiction thriller
with horror movie aspects, DAWN OF THE DEAD is more interested in the horror
and the humor than it is in the story.
Thanks to their fourth amendment rights, Ana (Sarah Polley), Kenneth (Ving
Rhames) and the rest of our rag-tag team are able to collect an arsenal of arms
to fend off the zombies, which are called "twitchers." Only a shot to the
zombie's brain kills them, and our shooters all turn out to be perfect marksmen
who never miss. Our good guys are holed up at the local mall and don't know if
anything else is alive in the greater Milwaukee area, where the story is set.
In fact, they don't know much of anything, including how this disaster got
started and how widespread it might be.
Although a thousand twitchers mill around outside the mall like teens at a rock
concert, our team inside mixes worries with laughs. For people who are dealing
with the end of the world, they are strangely obsessed with finding proper
bathrooms. They spend their time playing basketball and having sex, among
other activities. Most of this seems to serve only to kill time. The only
truly ingenious part is a chess game, which Kenneth plays with a stranger on
another rooftop. They communicate moves with binoculars and white boards.
The repetitive movie rapidly becomes tiresome. Only in the inevitable ending
break for freedom does the movie again recapture some of the energy and
imagination with which it started.
DAWN OF THE DEAD runs 1:45. It is rated R for "pervasive strong horror
violence and gore, language and sexuality" and would be acceptable for older
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes
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