HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
First Man
Machete Maidens Unleashed!
Cannibal Club, The
Grasshopper, The
Searching
Human Desire
Climax
Stiff Upper Lips
American Animals
Outlaws
Venom
World on a Wire
Velvet Buzzsaw
Picnic
Dick Dickman, PI
Hunter Killer
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The
Race for the Yankee Zephyr
Boys in the Band, The
Brainscan
T-Men
Blame
Upgrade
Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, An
Fear No Evil
One Cut of the Dead
Rosa Luxemburg
Disobedience
On the Job
Monsters and Men
   
 
Newest Articles
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
   
 
  Dawn of the Dead Dead GoodBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: George A. Romero
Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross, Scott Reiniger, David Crawford, David Early, Richard France, Pasquale Buba, Tom Savini, Tony Buba
Genre: Horror, Action
Rating:  8 (from 9 votes)
Review: As the zombie plague continues to engulf the planet, a quartet of survivors – TV girl Fran (Gaylen Ross), her helicopter pilot boyfriend Stephen (David Emge) and two SWAT soldiers Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger) – take refuge in a huge shopping mall, sealing the doors and creating a zombie-free hideout.

George A. Romero’s seminal follow-up to Night of the Living Dead is many things to many people – biting consumer satire, jet-black comedy, breathless actioner, gore-laden splatter epic. Such is Romero’s skill as a director and writer that it manages to be all of these without pretension or strain; 25 years on, the clothes and haircuts may have dated, but Dawn of the Dead’s thrilling energy remains undimmed.

It’s one of the few zombie films where the living dead aren’t in themselves particularly scary. They look silly, they fall over a lot, and Romero mostly shoots them in either broad daylight or the stark fluorescence of the mall; it’s rare for a horror director to be so uninterested in shadow or darkness. It’s their sheer number that frightens, a swarming, ravenous mass that make the set-pieces – the army storming of a Hispanic tenement building, the sealing of the mall’s gates, the climatic battle against a gang of marauding bikers – so gripping. The zombies are there from minute one; there’s no introduction, no explanation – what Romero is most interested in is the way society deals with a crisis like this (badly).

Dawn of the Dead is a long film, but Romero measures the pace perfectly, and the 30 minute stretch where our heroes find themselves safe but increasingly bored inside their consumerist sanctuary comes as welcome relief after the relentlessly action-packed first hour. It’s not that the acting is particularly great – although it’s certainly ok and Ken Foree is a powerful presence – but Romero’s ear for realistic, economic dialogue and his urgent editing keeps things ticking along nicely.

The mall is a brilliant location, not just for the satirical possibilities it offers Romero, but also for creating some clever, unsettling imagery. The director frequently cuts away to show zombies falling over on escalators, playing dead-eyed with now useless dollars, scrabbling hopelessly at the windows of shops. The piped muzak becomes horribly sinister, as does the disembodied ‘special offer’ voice that blares forth from the mall’s tannoys at random intervals. And as Stephen, Fran, Roger and Peter discover, the novelty of having as many of society’s desirable goods as they could ever want wears off pretty quick when there’s nothing on TV, nowhere to spend money and no one to appreciate expensive clothes and jewellery.

The film’s true star is, or course, Tom Savini, who provides a limitlessly inventive assault of day-glo splatter effects. They’re all here – screwdrivers through the ear, rotorblade scalpings, gunshot head explosions, machete decapitations and mass gut-munching, all executed with good-natured zest by director and make-up guru. Naturally, not all of our intrepid quartet make it out alive, but those that do are rewarded with a reasonably upbeat ending.

Dawn of the Dead exists in three distinct versions. The longest, 140-minute cut available on Anchor Bay UK’s Region 2 disc is labelled the ‘director’s cut’, but it’s not really – it’s the version Romero took to Cannes in 1978, and features only a little of Goblin’s excellent score (replaced with library music), plus extended dramatic scenes. The true director’s cut is the 126-minute US theatrical edit, which is tighter and uses more of Goblin’s music, while the version titled ‘Zombi’ is the Continental cut overseen by Dario Argento, which runs for 110 minutes, putting the emphasis on action. In any form however, Dawn of the Dead remains one of the finest horror films in modern cinema.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 20719 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

George A. Romero  (1940 - )

American writer/director and one of the most influential figures in modern horror cinema, whose ability to write strong scripts and characters match his penchant for gory chills. The Pittsburgh native began his career directing adverts before making Night of the Living Dead in 1968. This bleak, scary classic ushered in a new era of horror film-making, but Romero struggled initially to follow it up - There's Always Vanilla is a little-seen romantic drama, and Jack's Wife was butchered by its distributor. The Crazies was a flop but still an exciting slice of sci-fi horror, and while the dark vampire drama Martin again made little money but got Romero some of the best reviews of his career and remains the director's personal favourite.

In 1978 Romero returned to what he knew best, and Dawn of the Dead quickly became a massive international hit. Dawn's success allowed Romero to make the more personal Knightriders, and he teamed up with Stephen King to direct the horror anthology Creepshow. The intense, underrated Day of the Dead, spooky Monkey Shines and half of the Poe-adaptation Two Evil Eyes followed. The Dark Half, based on Stephen King's novel, was Romero's last film for nine years, and he returned in 2000 with the strange Bruiser. A fourth Dead film, Land of the Dead, was released in 2005, and lower budgeted fifth and sixth instalments rounded off the decade.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: