Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Written and Directed by: George Romero.
Plot: Presumably set sometime after Night of the Living Dead, a small group of people flees the city and winds up in a zombie infested shopping mall.
Review: When you really think about it, not that much actually happens in the movie, although that’s not really what you think about when you’re watching it. Like pretty much every movie in Romero’s … of the Dead series, the film is more about the domestic conflicts of the human characters rather than the battle between the living and the undead.
This sets Romero’s films apart from other, lesser zombie films in a way - they’re dramas with zombies in the background (just like Shaun of the Dead is a romcom with zombies). And this is arguably his best.
For starters (and actually this is the most important advantage), the characters in this movie are way more likeable and generally better. The characters in Night of the Living Dead were all right, but those in the subsequent entries in the pseudo-series grew more and more irritating. Take Day of the Dead for example. Assholes killing assholes. The only likeable character in the whole movie is Bub.
The characters in this flick have their unpleasant moments but that sort of makes them more interesting and human.
So this is probably my favourite horror film with an overtly social subtext (other horror flicks may have social subtexts but none of them are quite as obvious as this one), and it’s the kind of movie you can pick apart and discuss at length. For example, towards the end of the movie the remaining characters basically devolve into a warped version of the American Family, fighting over whether the television gets to stay on during dinner.
Nothing extraordinary, just people fighting with people. The zombies don’t even matter. This is the horrible reality of the zombie invasion which many people fail to address - in addition to worrying about zombies, you will be shut in a small space with a bunch of people who are no doubt going to annoy the fucking shit out of you. Horror.
Also, when the bikers are attacking the mall and trashing the place, if David Emge had just left them alone and not gone all apeshit about his possessions, they would have been fine. The bikers weren’t interested in the people, really, just the stuff. Materialistic American greed dooms them in the end. Interesting.
Admittedly, you can read a lot of stuff into the movie that may or may not be there, but it is interesting none the less.
Also, there’s tons of violence and gore and zombies getting wasted and shit. w00t.
Favourite Part: The Hare Krishna zombie is a slice of fried gold (I’m not going to go into what I think it symbolizes - I feel I’ve done enough bullshit explanation for one day). It’s just so weird and creepy and its what I think about every time I see Hare Krishnas anywhere.
Other versions: Watchable Zack Snyder remake of the same title, featuring Fast Zombies.
Sequels: Follows Night of the Living Dead. Followed by Day of the Dead (crap), Land of the Dead (not quite as crappy as Day but still crap) and Diary of the Dead (crappier than Day and Land put together).
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