I first saw Dawn of the Dead in the mid-80s (crap am I dating myself) when it first came out on VHS Video (I think I did it again). Never before did a movie grab my attention as this one did. While I was an admirer Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the modern Zombie genre was really still in its infancy. Even with its background zombies looking more like drugged out Smurfs than walkers, I was utterly hooked.
Dawn of the Dead in my mind not only created a new genre of Zombie films, I would argue it changed the way horror films are told. This epic groundbreaking tale demonstrated that Romero was able to capture the imminent threat of death and chaos just in the first five minutes of the movie. Without spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a movie budget that would create the ultimate apocalyptic tale, he used a television news station as the backdrop to this chaos. The pulse of the heartbeat bass soundtrack just gets your heart pumping with anxiety of what is to come next.
I was overall impressed with the story line. I will be honest, my biggest complain is that the movie was too short. Yes, there could have been some portions of the movie while the group was showing time passing in the mall, but the introduction of the biker gang just kicks it back into high gear. I would like to have seen something more after that. The ending, while definitely works, I have always wondered if it could have been pulled off in a different way. I was hoping that the James Gunn, Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake was going to do it. Spoiler Alert, they are totally different movies. Overall, what a great film. If I were to summarize what my Good and Bad points are of this epic movie, it would have to be the following:
- Groundbreaking Story Telling
- Hats off to Tom Savini for his Genius in Makeup and Special FX
- Outstanding Soundtrack
- Extremely Creative Setting
- Using a Mall is Brilliant
- The Story and Movie Still Holds Up Today
- Movie Should Have Been Longer
- Collapse of Society Theme Could Have Been Stronger
- More Time in Suspense of Getting to and in the Mall
- More Zombies (excuse me, the modern politically correct term, walkers)
If you have never seen this movie, get it! If you have already seen this movie, watch it again!