Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes to plan.
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
Ana goes home to her peaceful suburban residence, but she is unpleasantly surprised the morning that follows when her husband is brutally attacked by her zombified neighbor. In the chaos of her once picturesque neighborhood, Ana flees and stumbles upon a police officer named Kenneth, along with more survivors who decide that their best chances of survival would be found in the deserted Crossroads Shopping Mall. When supplies begin running low and other trapped survivors need help, the group comes to the realization that they cannot stay put forever at the Shopping Mall, and devise a plan to escape. Written by
"Dawn of the Dead" is a remake of the George Romero film from 1978, which was itself a sequel to his 1968 classic, "Night of the Living Dead." This new version, written by James Gunn and directed by Zack Snyder, follows the original storyline fairly closely, centering on a group of people who are holed up in a local shopping mall while flesh-eating zombies wreak havoc on the world outside.
The original, in addition to being a horror film, was also a playful little satire on the consumerism in modern society. This version shucks this dimension entirely in favor of a straight-ahead horror approach. It may seem impossible for someone to actually "dumb down" a horror film, but Gunn and Snyder have managed to do that here. For this reason, the most famous and imaginative images from the first film - that of the undead wandering through the mall, vacantly interacting with the clothing and other paraphernalia contained therein, just as they did in their previous lives - are nowhere to be found in this edition. The other major difference between this and the original is that the zombies themselves are no longer restricted to a lumbering pace but can actually outrun the people they are pursuing. Although, theoretically, this should increase their terror potential, it actually winds up diminishing it somewhat because it robs them of that otherworldly creepiness that made them so scary in the earlier movie.
Nevertheless, this remake turns out to be a fairly effective cannibal zombie movie even if it doesn't rise to the level of the original. There's a nice apocalyptic feel to much of the earlier portions of the film, and the screenplay allows for a reasonable bit of character development within the rather limited framework of the genre. There's even a very subtle homage to the great "Carnival of Souls," the far more gentle precursor to all these over-the-top zombie pictures, when a character describes himself as a church organist who sees his "calling" as "just a job." Although the film isn't really all that scary, "Dawn of the Dead" provides just enough tension and chills to make it worth seeing for any true horror film aficionado.
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