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Overall Rating
3.76

Awesome41.92%
Worth A Look: 22.34%
Average: 15.81%
Pretty Bad: 9.62%
Total Crap: 10.31%

16 reviews, 195 user ratings


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Dawn of the Dead (2004)
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by MP Bartley

"It's official: Re-makes rule."
4 stars

It's a disturbing new trend that Hollywood has started: taking care when re-making established classics or old favourites. Granted, they may be unlikely to dislodge the original as the movies of choice but recent movies like 'The Italian Job', 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and now this redux, haven't disgraced the original and aren't painful 'Planet of the Apes' turkeys. In fact when they're done like this, they're just damn entertaining in their own right.

In a breathless opening (the first 20 minutes are worth your money alone), we're introduced to over-worked nurse Anna (Sarah Polley) and we witness just how bad her day is about to become (creepy little clues like twitching corpses in the hospital and radio stations giving out warnings before being cut off suggest something is not right). In the early hours of the morning she and her husband are paid a visit by a little girl from down the street. However she isn't bringing them an early breakfast and instead tries to rip out the husbands neck. Anna doesn't have long to try and save him before he dies and then tries to rip her neck out. Managing an escape she sees that her neighbourhood has descended into hell overnight. Neighbours are ripping and clawing into each other, those left alive are shooting anyone in sight, houses are burning to the ground and the police are just as terrified as anyone else. It appears that a zombie plague has broken out.

Managing a partial escape to the city outskirts she meets fellow survivors Kenneth, a cop (Ving Rhames), soon-to-be father Andre (Mekhi Phifer) and logical thinker Michael (Jake Weber). Making their way to a mall, they break in to find shelter only to find it under the control of three security guards led by the arrogant CJ (Michael Kelly). Soon, other survivors turn up and all is set for internal power struggles and an almighty zombie finger-buffet.

When directors decide to make a classic they're often on a hiding to nothing. Meekly retread the path of the first and there's a general feeling of 'what was the point?', whereas deviate too strongly and there's cries of 'heresy!'. First-time helmer Zack Snyder shrugs this problem and goes hell for leather to create something distinctive, exciting and just damn cinematic. Upping the budget by a few million dollars, ups the stakes equally high. Instead of four survivors we have near on a dozen. Instead of lumbering zombies, we have speedy, agile sonsofbitches. Maybe the plague from '28 Days Later' has spread to America? So when in Romero's original we saw a few dozen zombies wandering around the carpark, here we see a veritable sea of them smashing against the doors. Romeros may have packed more of an apocalyptic punch, but Snyders is more likely to make you go "woah.That is a lot of undead flesh-eaters outside...". Because make no mistake, this may be more superficial and silly than the original, but damn if it isn't just cool. And it looks great, from the sweaty and shiny cinematography to several giddy money shots.

Upping the amount of characters has ultimately positive and negative aspects. More characters means more likely zombie fodder to keep your interest ticking over and more nasty deaths, but that also means more characters are simply nothing but zombie fodder. A lot of characters are simply two-dimensional so when they die, it may look cool and nasty, but there's no sense of loss unlike the first. Also the main characters aren't as fleshed out as the originals with some puzzling character changes for no apparent reason. Polley is an effective heroine however, much more plausible than scream-queens like Love Hewitt or Gellar, simply because she seems much more competent than they could ever be. Rhames may not be the greatest actor around, but he's one of the greatest presences around, while Weber and Kelly also stand out as Mr. Nice and Mr. Nasty respectively.


Praise should be also be given for Snyders brave decision to not end the movie where it normally does. It's a decision that could have flopped badly, but here it gives the film an extra jolt that it needs at the end and raises the stakes for the imperiled characters. It may never be as scary as Romero's version, but it's certainly as action filled with a few more sequences to raise the pulse. With would-be rescue attempts, near misses, dark ventures to fix broken generators there's certainly more incident here. And granted, a lumbering zombie bearing down on you may be more traditional, but super-fast zombies are just as lethal. Believe me, there'll be no pies in the zombie faces here...

Ultimately, there isn't the depth or satirical subtext that the original had and there's too much blaring nu-metal and goofy humour to unbalance the tone of the film, but this is the work of a director who knows that John Carpenter and David Cronenberg have made the best re-makes, not Tim Burton or Gus Van Sant. It may not be as scary as the original, but it's bloodier, nastier and slicker. And that's just about as good as you'll get for a re-make these days.

Put it this way, if I was watching the first two Romero films, I wouldn't reach for 'Day of the Dead', it'd be Snyders re-make I reach for to finish off my zombie viewing. It may not take much to beat 'Day of the Dead' but after watching Snyders particular version of hell on earth, you can't help but think it would be a lot better if he had a crack at it. This is a movie as crude and as over-the-top as action movies can get - but damn me to hell if I wasn't dragged along remorselessly with it. It's symptomatic of that cursed four-letter word: cool.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8887&reviewer=293
originally posted: 04/23/04 22:59:33
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 ScreamFest L.A. Horror Festival. For more in the 2004 ScreamFest L.A. series, click here.
Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell good remake imho 4 stars
8/06/12 Jeff Wilder Completely pointless and unnecssary remake. Stick with the original instead. 1 stars
8/09/11 Dreary A real zombie recovery story! Zombie finds new life in Modern Family! Way to go Phil! 4 stars
9/18/10 art ROMERO"S 2005's LAND OF THE DEAD is the best ZOMBIE film EXTENT! 1 stars
1/11/10 art AN END OF THE WORLD STORY!,A REAL DOWNER! 1 stars
12/26/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Sight ,Hostess twinkie remake. Kids will think this is "awesome". 2 stars
12/24/09 art BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL,which isn't saying A HELL OF ALOT! 2 stars
10/18/09 Chad Dillon Cooper A light weight remake in name only. Typical Hollywood Hostess Twinkie garbage. 2 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* This movie is a great zombie flick. Awesome guns and storyline!!!!! 5 stars
6/16/09 scott The 'pot noodle' version of a horror. This will NOT leave you satisfied! 3 stars
12/19/08 Craig D. It's "28 Days Later" without the interesting characters and memorable scenes. 3 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Great Horror film!! Kept me on the edge of my seat 5 stars
1/09/08 art COMIC-BOOK STUFF 1 stars
11/04/07 Ivana Mann Probably the best horror remake ever made.Creative spin on Romero classic. 5 stars
10/15/07 fools♫gold Why is this considered a remake? Predictable and sucky. 2 stars
9/26/07 Marco Wow... it could've been good but the running zombies and the MAIN FEMALE ruined everything. 1 stars
4/21/07 Tina Robertson/Anderson I love zombie flicks and this one was the best! 5 stars
1/23/07 Krinkels Why all the good reviews? I thought Uwe Boll directed this piece of shit. 1 stars
1/03/07 del Mediocrity squared. 3 stars
12/12/06 Angela Saunders Fast moving and worth watching if you like SCARY!! 4 stars
12/12/06 al watchd 34 times 5 stars
12/05/06 Stanley Thai A good remake but it's too long. 4 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini good gore. 5 stars
10/17/06 AJ Muller kickass action/horror hybrid with smarts AND style AND fun 4 stars
7/30/06 Dethbyhashi Running Zombies. Bad Idea!! 3 stars
7/17/06 mark just fucking great to watch 5 stars
6/08/06 ES Best zombie flick ever 5 stars
2/20/06 chris f doesnt even compare with the original 3 stars
2/05/06 Shawn Gadberry Best ZOMBIE remake! Best ZOMBIE movie period--since the original DAWN OF THE DEAD! 5 stars
2/04/06 Michele loved it 5 stars
1/18/06 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Just as great as the original, Just in a differetn way. 5 stars
11/22/05 Stefan Halka Decent remake. For some reason I like it better than Romero's version. 3 stars
10/28/05 Monday Morning I've been to Milwaukee, and there ARE zombies there. They're called the Brewers. 4 stars
10/25/05 DEEDeeDEEe I seen More action At the grave yard! Poop! 1 stars
10/21/05 cypress Great remake, must-see if your a zombie freak, lots of action 5 stars
9/25/05 K. Sear Generic, useless, boring, rehashed, predictable, brain-dead crap. 1 stars
9/01/05 Klondo there need to be more characters like CJ 4 stars
8/13/05 Ric It's a great rollercoaster ride, the best action/horror flick in years. 5 stars
8/11/05 ES Finally a zombie movie with a sense of dread, this movie was excellent 5 stars
6/26/05 DennyRoss Raises the bar for the zombie genre - how about a sequel? 5 stars
6/07/05 Anthony G holy shit, action from beginning to end, AWESOME. 5 stars
6/04/05 Mike Jozic Surprisingly brilliant remake of a horror classic. Must see flick! 5 stars
6/01/05 Scott Reynolds A ton of fun, especially the first 10 minutes, which will blow you away. Dark and bloody. 5 stars
5/27/05 Christy Schultz Not bad...lots of gore. 4 stars
5/17/05 E-FUNK Surprisingly fucking awesome. Doesn't hold a candle to Romero's 'Dawn'. Still fucking cool. 5 stars
5/02/05 MeredithL Fun, scary and never dull! 5 stars
4/25/05 Indrid Cold Better than the original, but still a perfectly mediocre horror movie. 3 stars
4/24/05 Clubber Lang Great first and last 20 or so minutes, but needs stronger characters to make the middle fly 3 stars
4/23/05 Domingo Montayo Oh god its so lame, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish 1 stars
4/17/05 Brig. Gen. Ripper It must be something in the water up in Wisconsin 5 stars
4/15/05 Raymond Montoya the Best Zombie movie ever!!!!! I love this movie 5 stars
4/04/05 Ric It's a scary, fast-paced, action-packed ride. Best horror film of the decade. 5 stars
4/03/05 Tom Ciorciari Not s'good 2 stars
3/25/05 dwarzel Most excellent humor for a zombie movie 4 stars
3/22/05 Uncle Phucker Some cool moments, but nothing compared to the original films of George Romero. 3 stars
3/19/05 Jin Horrifying and disturbing that people waste time on crap like this. Dumb soundtrack too. 1 stars
3/17/05 Naughty Devil Man Has a very nihilistic "fuck the world" teenage mentality. 2 stars
2/25/05 zoe hunter enjoy a good zombie flick like this one..love sarah!! 4 stars
2/01/05 Wendy S. Blew me away! 5 stars
1/29/05 WILLIAM CAMPY BUT FUNNY! 3 stars
1/22/05 Tjalda L. Schiel Ho Hum...Another typical day at the mall. 3 stars
1/12/05 Ron Newbold It was fun once but I won't watch it again anytime soon 3 stars
1/11/05 Kristina Williams loved it 5 stars
1/10/05 Brett Unfortunately not as good as I hoped. 3 stars
12/16/04 J Dead can sure run!!! 5 stars
12/15/04 ALDO I agree with the boring characters....but still deserves a look 4 stars
12/12/04 Charlene Javier Pure popcorn fun! 4 stars
12/11/04 Al Guy Get down with the sickness! 5 stars
12/10/04 tony this movie was pretty bad near the end. Kinda cheezy. But otherwise ok. rent this movie 3 stars
12/08/04 frosty Definitely good, but not really scary. 3 stars
12/05/04 Maalstrom Was boring after the first opening scene. Some REALLY dumb characters 2 stars
11/14/04 Darryl Great opening sequence, then down hill. Not EVEN the least bit suspensful. 2 stars
11/03/04 tatum It's obvious SOMEONE in Hollywood really liked "28 Days Later" 3 stars
10/31/04 asina you can't compare this to the original - too different. great opening montage, though... 4 stars
10/31/04 Geo78665 Starts and ends great, but has boring characters, and lacks a sense of dread. 3 stars
10/29/04 The Talking Elbow Watch the first half of 28 days then tell me this movie couldn't have been better. 3 stars
10/25/04 Ric A terrific rollercoaster ride of action and horror. 5 stars
10/25/04 Tom Ciorciari the best first 15 minutes i've seen in a long time 3 stars
10/13/04 me a great film 5 stars
10/08/04 The Grinch The original is a smarter movie, but this Rubinstein remake is fun, and will help Romero 5 stars
9/02/04 Adam I LOVE THIS MOVIE. IT WAS AWESOME! 5 stars
8/27/04 Mike Stanbridge The original still rules! Romero is King of the Zombie flick. 4 stars
8/21/04 Jimmy Great Remake of my Favorit Horrorflick 4 stars
8/15/04 Anthony G fucking awesome movie 5 stars
7/29/04 Shams Huque Awesome film! 5 stars
7/27/04 Kayla this was a great movie! it has scary moments and it has momenys like run stupid!!!1 So i sa 5 stars
7/25/04 Pure RAGE... It was okay... 4 stars
7/05/04 spritely Shocked to discover it's better than the first 5 stars
7/05/04 Brian C0urtney Holy cow! Awesome, gritty horror flick to rage against current teen camp! 5 stars
6/18/04 sumixam Best Horror movie in 20 years 5 stars
6/15/04 Lizzy I feel asleep...need I say more 2 stars
6/15/04 Jordan Davis This movie had its moments. If you're looking for some good fun, it's an excellent choice! 4 stars
6/14/04 d.t.carney awesome don't miss this film !!!!!! 5 stars
6/12/04 malcolm interesting, not a single good thrill 3 stars
6/12/04 cornelious parker awsome zombie movie. zombies are awesome, and this movie did them justice. 5 stars
6/12/04 DJ ERIC 88 wow what a movie! the opening sequence kicked!!!! 5 stars
6/11/04 Matt best zombie movie ever 5 stars
6/06/04 Norema Cameron Fairly watchable thriller, with typical stupid horror-movie ending. Marginally worth look 4 stars
5/25/04 Mitch From genius cinematography to the brilliant use of Johnny Cash...wow. 5 stars
5/21/04 Eloise an insut to the original, weak performances, just plain bad 1 stars
5/20/04 Jeff S Great use of music and editing, but zombies that run like cheetas? 3 stars
5/14/04 earl duron best horror film in years 5 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot they ran in 28 days later,now they can die in style too! 5 stars
5/06/04 Bobby Fisher none stop, top shelf horror, very edge of ur seat.... lovely stuff 5 stars
4/24/04 Drew Excellent re-make. Alot more chilling than first anticipated. Speedy zombies much scarier. 5 stars
4/24/04 maxomai An erotic thriller for Nekromantik fans everywhere 5 stars
4/21/04 TonyMontana Only worth watching in theaters 4 stars
4/19/04 jj if this was the worst ever made it would still be better than the original which sucks 3 stars
4/18/04 Zach The opening 10 minutes is STUPENDOUS! 5 stars
4/16/04 TWINEY More fun then horror 4 stars
4/15/04 Jeff MacIver Shuffling zombies are officially a thing of the past. 4 stars
4/15/04 rojo Classic horror, top shelf. 5 stars
4/14/04 slayathon I really had fun watching this but I did not like the ending 4 stars
4/12/04 Mario St.Clair Great movie. IF you havn't seen, go see it. 5 stars
4/12/04 Mike V When of the best horror films I've ever seen! 5 stars
4/12/04 Will Taylor this film is an hour and a half which wasted my life! 2 stars
4/09/04 mlh Aliens meets Zombie Flick 5 stars
4/09/04 David R Good action remake of a great horror classic. 5 stars
4/08/04 Eloise crappy, weak, pointless, shameless hollywood remake of a good film. WHY? 1 stars
4/08/04 Mark Awesome film. Fresh, yet does real credit to the original. Gotta love a good zombie flick. 5 stars
4/06/04 Samuel just watch the origional instead, its much better 3 stars
4/06/04 George Baumert Action Packed Fun 5 stars
4/05/04 puckfreak Now, one of my all time favorites 5 stars
4/04/04 Eric A fantastic thrill ride, actually even better than the original. 5 stars
4/03/04 Alexander Miller The best horror film since erm... well, ever 5 stars
4/02/04 re a great film 5 stars
4/02/04 Obi Wan Very good remake. Anyone feel the video game version of Resident Evil coming?? 4 stars
4/01/04 Tim Whitcher A Hollywood CGI mess. Rotting zombies with strength? Come on! 2 thumbs bit off.... 1 stars
4/01/04 tediboy good movie but not to be compared with the original 4 stars
3/31/04 mcgill373 28 days later with a budget 5 stars
3/31/04 thomas clark loved im much better than the original 5 stars
3/31/04 Rod ONeal Very good film- although the ending lost steam. 5 stars
3/30/04 cpkpixel Excellent! Scary, gory and deeply though provoking.... 5 stars
3/29/04 Kenny Ward Gore fest 2004 (excellent) 5 stars
3/29/04 Chris Barts See the original for a good movie, or see one of the millions of other cheap zombie flicks. 1 stars
3/29/04 Mr Lucky They could have trimmed 45 minutes off this monster movie. 2 stars
3/29/04 Katie, 16 It reminded me a little too much of 28 Days Later, but I really enjoyed it. 5 stars
3/29/04 danny perrigoy great film keeps u either on the edge of your seat or curreld in a ball 5 stars
3/29/04 Jean Oh Man! that was GOOD ! 5 stars
3/28/04 Pasquale Buba They already made 28 Days later and that film was betr 1 stars
3/28/04 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Better than average slasher pic. Soundtrack is the most pleasantly surprising. 4 stars
3/28/04 Taylor It was f*king AWESOME! i have a bit of crude humor so i also thought it was hillarious 5 stars
3/28/04 HorrorScribbler You are who you eat. Jake Weber rocks. Good, but "28 Days Later" better. 4 stars
3/27/04 ROY L. CAIN,JR. Far better than the original, with the ugliest baby I ever seen! 5 stars
3/27/04 rojo The original still has more magic, but the remake takes no prisoners. 4 stars
3/27/04 Melissa Gaugert Sucked big time! 2 stars
3/27/04 Michael Great film. Delivers what it promises and well balanced, unlike 28 Days Later. To be owned. 5 stars
3/26/04 The Ripper What 28 Days Later claimed it was: the horror flick I've been waiting my whole life for. 5 stars
3/26/04 cinkcool It ruled. 5 stars
3/26/04 Priest Good flick, i'll pay to see it again 4 stars
3/26/04 Heather Robosn Taken apart from the original it is an entertaining film, but it lacks a moral heart. 3 stars
3/26/04 greensweater '28 Days Later' was better, but still rocked 5 stars
3/25/04 Mike It's too bad there is't a lower rating for this absolute FAILURE. 1 stars
3/25/04 Mark as good as the original and in ways better 4 stars
3/25/04 deadtoyou kick ass film, everyone should see and bring their kids too!!!! 5 stars
3/25/04 Dave Fox Mad Props to James Gunn , but i'm a wee bit retarded and didn't stay for the credits, what? 5 stars
3/25/04 Meg Worst movie I have ever seen! I was ready to go before the opening credits started 1 stars
3/24/04 f 11 That movie ruled! Bad ass opening scene 5 stars
3/24/04 sikrik not even close to the brilliance of the original 4 stars
3/23/04 luke it was allright i liked the one in '78 better 4 stars
3/23/04 Ryan Wilson Excellent movie! 5 stars
3/23/04 true review way better than the original because the original sucked, best remake in the last 10 years 4 stars
3/23/04 Morally Sound The only worthy 'remake' I have ever seen! Awesome! 5 stars
3/23/04 coco dumb 1 stars
3/23/04 maxomai Fun, satisfying flick. Not 28 days. Stay through the credits! :) 5 stars
3/23/04 Heaven'sJustice Like an overhaul on the original, same good design, just better and newer parts! 5 stars
3/22/04 Caiphn Complete suprise, a must see. 5 stars
3/22/04 AfroFett F*** Resident Evil! 4 stars
3/22/04 graham cosh a must see! equal to but different from the original.can`t wait 4 dvd! 5 stars
3/22/04 Lust4DetH DoTD + 28DaysLater only decent horror in 200x 5 stars
3/22/04 michael keller this movie was awesome, so much fun. 5 stars
3/21/04 y2mckay Better than the original, Eric? Come on now, Son . . . 4 stars
3/21/04 nick2k wowzas! it was grrrreat. was kinda false advertising to sell as a 'remake' though. 5 stars
3/21/04 Morally Sound The original is still the best horror movie of all time. James Gunn's remake kicks ass too. 5 stars
3/21/04 Zophael great flick....non stop action....love the ending 5 stars
3/21/04 john good actors but no charchter development - no creepy atmosphere and bad video game action 2 stars
3/21/04 L.H. Oswald Love the original, love the remake! 5 stars
3/21/04 allan smith Pretty weak. Looked like a video game. celebrity sniping was fun. 2 stars
3/21/04 Michelle Bell Should have just made a sequel, not a remake of the greatest film ever made. 3 stars
3/21/04 True Grit This movie was only average. Original better. And Night of th.. remains untouched. 3 stars
3/21/04 Dustin Loomis an all around great zombie flick 5 stars
3/21/04 Dan hella pimp tite! 5 stars
3/21/04 Carver S. saw it last night and LOVED it..the sniper on the roof was sweet 5 stars
3/20/04 movieguy a great film 5 stars
3/20/04 vagile They got it right. 5 stars
3/20/04 los man The old ruff-around-the-edges splatter FX of old were somehow spookier; original's better 3 stars
3/20/04 Vicious Excellent horror film. 5 stars
3/20/04 Mike Great Movie!!Started right away and doesnt let up til the end...stay for the credits!!! 5 stars
3/20/04 CLS Very good remake--true to the original form. Marred by a bad ending. 4 stars
3/20/04 Graham Alright, but... is it so hard to write an original zombie film, and not rehash a classic? 3 stars
3/20/04 mason if the original wasn't the greatest film ever made this might have worked 2 stars
3/20/04 Maria Harrison the movie was boring, it dragged, and to be blunt it was horrible 2 stars
3/20/04 jpbeck This was a very tastey movie 5 stars
3/19/04 shanaynay I loved it! It scared the lights outta me! 5 stars
3/19/04 steve kick-ass movie 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Mar-2004 (R)
  DVD: 26-Oct-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Jun-2004


Directed by
  Zack Snyder

Written by
  James Gunn

Cast
  Sarah Polley
  Ving Rhames
  Mekhi Phifer
  Michael Barry
  Lindy Booth
  Ty Burrell



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