I saw part of the remake of Dawn of the Dead before on TV but I never saw the original. My friend Sean and I watched it the other day.
Director George Romero is one of the most famous names in horror movies and his zombie movies were huge box office hits. Dawn of the Dead was made on a budget of $650,000 and made an incredible $55,000,000 at the box office. Filmed in the Pittsburgh area, specifically Monroeville Mall, it also has a local touch to it.
The movie is slow to start but a large portion of that is because the movie explains what zombies are as well as the basics to killing them. The concept of zombies was not widely known at the time so this was necessary for audiences back then. I know plenty about zombies so while I found it boring and unnecessary, it was definitely relevant for people back then so I’m not taking points off for that.
The character development could have been better but it’s not bad. Because there are only four main characters, development has to be there or the movie suffers, and Romero does a good job for the most part with the characters. I didn’t feel like I got to know who Francine was at all, but I didn’t care for her character much in the first place. Nonetheless some more character exploration would have been nice.
The effects could also have been better but for a movie made in 1978, they’re acceptable.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Road to Perdition, Total Recall, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Along Came Polly, Aliens)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot Games, The Great Gatsby, Pitch Black, Alien)
20-29 What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All Fears)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight Cowboy, Dark Fury, Alien 3)
My score for Dawn of the Dead: 75.
This was a groundbreaking movie for the zombie genre and Romero’s work in doing so cannot be overstated. The special effects could have used some work and some of the decisions the characters make are very questionable. The entertainment factor could have been better as well because while I didn’t hate this movie by any means, I also didn’t love it.
*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!
Roger is an idiot in this movie and despite police training, does not show professional competence in the field nor does he grasp the severity of the situation until he’s bitten and realizes he’s going to die. I really didn’t care what happened to him.
According to Romero, zombies still have their memories when they die, something I don’t agree with but that is a zombie facts argument not a slam against the movie. However, when Stephen dies, he immediately heads to the fake door that the group put up so that intruders wouldn’t be able to get to their residence. Zombies have no brains so that coupled with there’s no way a zombie could think that fast causes problems for me. Roger gets bitten and doesn’t turn for like a week even though I’m pretty sure the widely held belief on the turning period is 24 hours.
It’s got some flaws, but for being the first zombie movie, it’s pretty good.