Dawn of the Dead (2004)
October 18, 2020 3:10 PM - Subscribe

A group of survivors take refuge in a shopping mall after the world is taken over by aggressive, flesh-eating zombies.
posted by iamkimiam (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'll leave it to somebody else to make a post about the original Dawn of the Dead, can't believe it wasn't already up here.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:27 PM on October 18, 2020

I'll always remember seeing this in the theater and seeing people leave as soon as the credits started. They missed the real ending!
posted by NotTheRedBaron at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

The image of the dead little girl in an early scene stuck with me, popping into my head at random during wakeful nights, for years afterwards.

Maggie Mae Fish covers a this fair bit in her Zack Snyder series.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:36 PM on October 18, 2020

I really loved the first 10 minutes or so—waking up on an idyllic morning and then it gradually emerges that the world is a burning zombie hellscape. The rest of the movie was fun enough.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 7:56 PM on October 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Zack Snyder may be considered a talentless hack but the opening reel of this film is just sublime.
Like the perfect action sequence at the end of the execrable Lone Ranger the opening of Dawn of the Dead is mesmerising.

I've always thought Snyder was a good director who thought he was an auteur.
Snyder could be a great action director like Tony Scott or John McTiernan but he's just not as good as he thinks he is.
posted by fullerine at 12:08 AM on October 19, 2020

This is Snyder's best film but it still doesn't hold a candle to Romero's version.
posted by octothorpe at 4:55 AM on October 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think the reason it’s as good as it is is that James Gunn wrote it.
Zack Snyder is a competent director, but to be really good he needs to work with writers who play to his strengths.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 5:02 AM on October 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

I, too, can't believe that this hasn't been posted before.

As far as zombie movies go, this is pretty much by the numbers. I do like the casting for the different archetypes, and Jake Webber does the competent and level headed Michael well.

Also the old dude gleefully trying out dresses and impractical shoes.

The gun shop owner "hanging out at a distance" hits a soft spot for me; I was 5 when my sister ran into a wall and my mom had to take her to the hospital for stitches; I entertained myself by flashing toys across the courtyard with a couple of brothers about my and my sister's age. Our families eventually became friendly after I told my mom about it, and I liked that the gang could take some enjoyment in a little bit of calm in the middle of a disaster.

Can't remember if I had seen a good zombie baby before this movie, but I recall thinking that it was very well done.
posted by porpoise at 3:02 PM on October 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've always thought Snyder was a good director who thought he was an auteur.
Snyder could be a great action director like Tony Scott or John McTiernan but he's just not as good as he thinks he is.

It is entirely possible to be an auteur of B-movies. Corman himself, John Carpenter, Paul W.S. Anderson... these guys have all made some passably entertaining movies, but not a one of them was ever going to become the new Kubrick.

I maintain that if Snyder had retired or disappeared or something after this movie, he’d be regarded as a supreme genre director whose full potential we never got to see. Instead, he is known widely as a moviemaker whose potential turned out to be pretty meagre and we’ve all seen as much of it as we cared to.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:52 AM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m not a zombie fan but this was well done (gun shop guy!). I caught the last half on tv a long time ago—had no clue what it was about at first—so thanks for the reminder. I would love to watch it with my nephew when the world opens up again.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:06 AM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

“Fuck ya’ll” as uttered by Ving Rhames, is one of my favorite lines in any movie, ever.

Enjoyed the exquisitely subtle love story/tension between the characters played by Sarah Polley and Jake Weber.

Those first 10 minutes were epic.
posted by edithkeeler at 7:43 AM on October 21, 2020

edithkeeler - you might be interested in the opener for 'Zombieland.' It's another great "discovering that the rules have changed" introduction.

But yeah, the pacing here is perfect. Down to the "I'm in it for myself now" in the car, and rethinking that when she runs into Rhames' character.
posted by porpoise at 11:50 PM on October 21, 2020

It’s been a good ten years since I watched this, but I agree with all your comments so far:

- opening scene is great. Iconic, even
- best and maybe only decent Zack Snyder film
- a fun watch that in no way equals or eclipses Romero’s original for real meaning or sociological commentary.

I don’t know how Jake Weber feels about his film career, but I for one am sad not to have seen more of him. I was however pleased to see him in eco-horror flick The Beach House earlier this year, a film in which he makes one of the best and strangest exits ever.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:48 PM on October 23, 2020

I like the cold open, but I honestly don't like this movie at all. Snyder takes all the politics out of Romero's version (can't imagine why) and we're left with a bro-y action movie that goes on way too long. It is Zack Snyder's best film.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:52 PM on October 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

That's really the sticking point for me. Romero's film is a political and social satire and Snyder took all that subtext out and just made an effective but hollow horror film.
posted by octothorpe at 2:47 PM on October 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

I agree with the above. Completely unrelated to those excellent points, I can't stop being annoyed by the fact that Andy has a literal arsenal and isn't spending every day sniping zombies from the roof. And if the argument is that it's because there are just too many of them, then you could strategically snipe them to build a zombie barrier that the new ones can't climb over.* At the very least, there should be loads of bodies strewn about from all those headshots after they stopped playing chess and moved onto higher pursuits.

*Zombie strategy puzzle video game idea.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:15 PM on October 25, 2020

I have said this several times, in several other places on MeFi, but given how this film stacks up against the rest of Snyder's work, maybe it's worth giving additional credit to James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay. This seems much more of a piece with Slither or The Suicide Squad than Man of Steel or 300.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:44 AM on August 26, 2022

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