Zombie Movie Review: Dawn Of The Dead 2004

This film is showing on Netflix Instant US. Visit Blog of the Living Dead for details.

Vector image for zombie movie Dawn of the Dead

Vector image for zombie movie Dawn of the Dead

I am almost embarrassed to admit that I saw this version of Dawn of the Dead before I ever watched the Romero original.  Yes it’s disgraceful, but I feel I have somewhat made up for this by the sheer geek that I have become for this genre.  A lot of time, and an excessive zombie collection later and I can approach DOTD2004 with a new mindset.  Would I enjoy it as much as I did sat in the cinema 4 years ago?

Well for a start, the opening 15 minutes is possibly one of the greatest scenes in zombie movie history.  Radio reports hinting at the impending doom lead knowingly up to the initial house siege – where a young girl with her face chewed up attacks a husband and wife in their own bedroom.  The husband is bitten and dies in a plume of blood and instantly turns on his wife, who races for cover in her bathroom and eventually claws her way out of the window and onto her lawn.  Here we get an amazing panning shot over her shoulder taking in the carnage that is unfolding in the local suburb.  She takes the car, pursued by her zombie husband who tries to smash his way through the windscreen before he gets distracted by a nearby resident who is still alive.  She drives away, cars crashing and people being eaten all around her before crashing through a road barrier and into a tree.  Strewth, that’s quite an opening!

One of the most commercial Zombie films to date, and one that no Zombie fan would say they were particularly excited about when it was announced, Dawn of the Dead 2004 was actually quite a surprise.  The only real similarity to the original is that it takes place in a shopping mall.  That’s pretty much it.  What we have here is a large bunch of characters locked in the mall and sticking it out until they really need to get the hell out of there.

So, it appears that I can’t get enough of this movie, but that’s not entirely the case.  The running zombies are not ones that I’m particularly fond of.  They seem more like angry humans than reanimated corpses.  The whole story of the pregnant couple is just ludicrous and seems totally out of place, and there are far too many characters here to keep track of.  However, it’s action all the way and never outstays its welcome.  I’ll even go so far as to say that it’s more enjoyable that the Romero original!  But hey, that’s not even anywhere near his best one – Day of the Dead.  Man, I love that film too.  Must get around to watching it for this blog.

Gore Score B-
Norks Score C
Originality Score D
Overall Score B+


4 responses to “Zombie Movie Review: Dawn Of The Dead 2004

  1. I seem to be in the minority, but the Dawn remake is my favorite zombie movie.
    You can have all the social commentary you want, give me a movie where something awesome is happening every 10 minutes.
    I have no problem with running zombies. I always think as zombies as being narrowed minded, but very motivated. When they see something to eat, they’ll do whatever their bodies allow them to do. If their body is intact enough to run, they’ll run.
    Also, the beginning of this movie is zombie gold. The scene with the little girl is perfect. That and the opening sequence of 28 Weeks Later are probably my favorite zombie moments of all time.

    • I would mostly agree with you. It’s a great movie and one that even non-zombie movie lovers would enjoy. However I’m not a fan of the running zombies really. I much prefer the slow inevitability of the shufflers – never stopping, never sleeping, always coming for you day or night. Yes the fast ones add a sense of urgency, but that just makes it over too quickly that you don’t get that sense of impending doom that you do with the slow ones.
      However I still love the film and wouldn’t be put off the genre if all we get from now on are the speedy variety. There’s more to zombie movies than just how fast they move!

      • I don’t really prefer one type of zombie over the other as long as it works for the movie. I think that there’s room enough in the genre for all different interpretations. Except zombies with super powers (you suck Day of the Dead remake!)
        You should check out The Horde. It has a similar feel to the Dawn remake and is an all-around awesome movie.

  2. Pingback: Feature: Rob Zombie’s Favourite Zombie Movies, Reviewed | Devouring the Zombie Films of the Living

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