Dawn of the Dead (1978)

DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)
Article 3840 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-8-2012
Posting Date: 2-18-2012
Directed by George A. Romero
Featuring David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger
Country: Italy / USA
What it is: Zombie apocalypse movie

Four people, trying to escape the onslaught of man-eating zombies, take refuge in a shopping mall.

On the surface, George Romero’s sequel to his classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD comes across as another take at the original story with the antes upped; it’s the same basic premise with fewer (but better trained) trapped humans and a more expansive setting (a shopping mall rather than an isolated house), with more gore and in color as well. What makes it a classic in its own right is that it takes a different tone; there’s are wicked streaks of humor and satire at play here, while the pristine shopping mall settings and the often ludicrous elevator music underscore its jaundiced look at consumerism. It’s not as intense or scary as the first movie, but it manages to take a fresh and fascinating look at the situation at hand and the world that is being created in its wake. It even had an ending that surprised me, though a different ending was at one time planned.

After I finished watching this movie (for the first time, I might add), I found myself checking the quotes on IMDB to see if it featured the line of the movie that will most stick with me. It wasn’t there, but for me, it was the most telling line of the film. I can’t remember the exact words, but it involves a character pondering as to “what has become of us”. It’s the type of line you’d expect from someone thinking about how brutal they’ve become in their battle for survival, but here, it’s about how they’ve take to petty squabbling when they feel relatively safe and secure. Somehow, the idea that the battle for survival makes them more human than they are when they are in idle comfort is a telling critique of human nature. All in all, I found this movie fascinating and satisfying.

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