Dawn of the Dead Review
Directed by George A. Romero
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, four desperate survivors barricade themselves inside a shopping mall to battle the flesh-eating hordes of the undead and to wage war against dangerous looters.
Two SWAT team members (Roger and Peter), a traffic reporter (Stephen), and a television-executive (Francine) are the four desperate survivors escaping the cities overrun by zombies by helicopter.
Dawn of the Dead begins at the television station, filming without any care to the television crew’s safety. Meanwhile, a SWAT team is raiding an apartment complex overrun by humans and zombies.
Stephen acquires the helicopter from the roof of the television station, bringing Francine along with him. Roger meets them on the rooftop with another SWAT team member Peter, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves.
It is not until these four survivors find themselves drawn to a shopping mall does the deeper meaning behind the film become more clear among the zombie carnage and survival tactics. People are possessed by unrelenting consumption, even after being dead and rising they return to the shopping mall.
Fran asks “Why do they come here?” and the film mentions that the zombies are creatures of instincts that are steered by physical mannerisms they cannot mentally remember. The zombies are only returning to places and locations that they frequented during their time among living, returning but not comprehending why.
Even with the issues of mass consumerism and mass consumption thriving in Dawn of the Dead, the film is chock full of blood, violence, mayhem, and laughs.
Roger and Peter are two SWAT team members who know how to handle a gun and to have some fun! Sliding down the escalator, Roger is a helluva funny man. But he also goes batshit crazy when the zombies come after him when they are working on the barricades for the shopping mall.
Peter is a street smart man with a sarcastic wit, delivering some of the best lines of the film and possibly some of the worst. But those two funny guys had to liven up the storyline when Francine was nothing more than a straight-laced television-executive with little to no humor.
Stephen was certainly the fly in the ointment of every plan that Roger and then Peter had when it came to everyone’s safety in their little band of survivors. He nearly shot Peter when they landed to refuel the helicopter. How stupid could someone be? No wonder he ended up becoming just another walking corpse.
Dawn of the Dead is another testament of George A. Romero’s genius with the zombie film, integrating politic and social issues with the gore and the fear of horror. I am certainly becoming more of a zombie film fan, considering that I avoided the sub-genre for the better part of my horror-viewing life.
Dawn of the Dead gives us hope, which cannot be said for the previous zombie film from Romero, when Francine and Peter survive the onslaught of flesh-eating zombies and looting bandits. No one else made it, but at least they survived another day.
And Peter is a badass! Enough said.