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up on the roof, Dawn of the Dead

read another review of this remake -
Dawn Of The Dead

also see our review of the original film -
Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
December 2004 SITE MAP   SEARCH

Dawn Of The Dead:
The Director's Cut
cast: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, and Matt Frewer

director: Zack Synder

110 minutes (18) 2004
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
EV DVD Region 2 rental or retail
Also available to rent or buy on video

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Ian Shutter
About ten minutes longer than the original UK theatrical release, this version has more character development and a few extra bits of gore, but these add little to an enjoyable shocker that's already one of the best remakes of the new century.

Sarah Polley is a first-class horror movie heroine as nurse Ana, who's attacked by her living-dead husband before escaping from the escalating carnage of suburbia plagued by terrifyingly zombies. Despite debutant director Zack Snyder's fanboy willingness to pay tribute to George A. Romero's classic black comedy, there's a sense that sincere efforts were made to improve upon certain aspects of the 1978 original. Not just in updating the unlikely premise but also heightening the level of menace. Here, the zombies here are faster moving, almost athletic, and often rather more dangerous than the fiercest rabid dogs imaginable.

As the uniformed cop Kenneth, favourite movie-hardman Ving Rhames is a most admirable casting choice, portraying a less cynical and more humane individual than many of the other characters in this movie, and he's quite ably supported by Jake Weber as the sympathetic and intelligently perceptive Michael, perhaps one of the least imposing and basically likeable screen heroes of recent years. Even as selfishness (some armed security guards at the shopping mall demonstrate their serious social problems with trusting anyone, to say the least), denial (more than one survivor of the seemingly 'viral' outbreak of zombification hides their infected bite wounds from the others), bigotry, ignorance, and plain old stupidity conspire to rapidly decrease the number of still-breathing survivors and the safety of those left alive, the drama zips along with gritty or gallows humour, and - refreshingly - without a hint of the preachy tone that many a lesser filmmaker would have been unable to avoid.

The DVD release has an excellent anamorphic transfer enhanced for 16:9 TV with Dolby digital sound in 2.0 stereo, 5.1 surround, and DTS options, plus English subtitles. Disc extras: The Lost Tape reveals Andy's last days on earth, Special Bulletin is a pseudo tabloid newscast about the zombie threat, there's a batch of deleted scenes with accompanying commentary from the director, two featurettes - Raising The Dead and Attack Of The Living Dead, plus special effects expose, Splitting Headaches, which looks at the anatomy of exploding heads. On top of all this, we get a feature commentary by Synder, with producer Eric Newman.

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