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Showing 1-10 of 310 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,013 reviews
on May 24, 2017
Childhood Favorie of Mine
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on August 24, 2014
The movie is great but the transfer is not the best. I think the DVD is a bit better. Also, not all the extras from the DVD set are here and that is just wrong!
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on March 21, 2017
The DVD works great!
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VINE VOICEon March 25, 2004
I can't give the film 5 stars because it's no SAVING PRIVATE RYAN or CITIZEN KANE. Also, it gets docked because the original idea came from George Romero, and these filmmakers are putting thier own spin on it. But other than that...this movie delivers chills, thrills and more than a few solid laughs.
I'm a fan of the original, but I haven't seen it in years. Of course, the special effects in the original weren't so great compared to what we can do today (or frankly, to what Romero did in DAY OF THE DEAD), but I actually remember the original being grosser. When the zombies caught someone in the original, we got to see disembowlings and lots of chewing on flesh. YUMMY!! In the new movie, there isn't time to dwell on it so much. It moves at a brisker pace than the rather long original (it was nearly 2.5 hours if I remember, compared to 100 minutes or so now).
Anyway, surely you know the basic plot by now! Flesh-eating zombies are rising from the grave and making more zombies faster than you can say "nuclear holocaust." They can only be killed by a shot right through the brain (or perhaps being burned completely) but most people are killed before they have a chance to even try killing the zombies. A few survivors make their way to a shopping mall, and barracade themselves inside. The zombies are constantly threatening, but as is often the case in such films, the bickering and power-struggles of the survivors are nearly as dangerous. Who will live? That's the ultimate question.
The important thing in movies where we take a large cast and kill them off one by one (ALIENS...good, DEEP BLUE SEA...not so good) is that we learn to care somewhat about the characters. And the movie has VERY little time to sketch the characters, so they have to handle it well. DAWN OF THE DEAD handles it very well. Each person is given sharply drawn characteristics, and just enough complexity that we immediately throw our allegiances their way. Even the "bad guys" have their moments. In the end, we hate to see ANY humans, even the nasty ones, succumb to a zombie. And most of the characters get at least one good laugh to their name...so we like them for that!
The nominal "lead actor" in the film is Sarah Polley, a nurse, who is the only one of the band of survivors that we meet BEFORE the zombies take over. In a brief, maybe 10 minute, opening, we see her at work, coming home to her suburban town and cuddling with her husband. All around her, little clues about the brewing trouble are being dropped, but we also see very easily how she could be missing them...so imagine her surprise to wake up in the morning to find the world she has known is gone forever.
Polley is a good actor who has never gotten big Hollywood recognition because she isn't a traditional beauty. But, much like in the original DEAD movies, there aren't really any pretty faces in these films. The aestetic is to give us BELIEVABLE looking people...people we might see on the street. US!!!
Ving Rhames is the other "big" name, along with ER's Mekhi Phifer. But being a "name" in this movie is no guarantee of making it to the end.
Part of the fun is guessing who's next to go. And just about every death is different than any other, so that we get to "experience" each loss. Thus, the movie is brutal, but it feels a bit human too.
The action scenes are all tense and well-executed. And the biggest success of all: no moments where you say to yourself, "Oh, come on, NO ONE WOULD DO THAT!!!" There is one case where one of the characters does something VERY foolhardy on her own (involving chasing a dog) but by then, we KNOW that she is a person living on the edge of sanity as it is, so we buy her doing something stupid (which she doesn't pay the ultimate price for anyway). Otherwise, these are desparate people, often forced to do insane things because they have no choice...not because they made stupid choices.
I really enjoyed myself at this film, and if you're a fan of in-your-face horror, you MUST check it out. It's nice to know that this kind of movie can still be made so well. With 28 DAYS LATER and now this great remake...it's been a good couple of years!
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VINE VOICEon July 7, 2013
I have been a Romero fan since I saw the original Dawn of the Dead at a midnight movie in the early 80s. I must have seen it a dozen times in the theater and own every version of the original that is possible to own. I know my Dawn of the Dead. That being said, I liked this movie. I didnt care about social commentary when I was 18. I was young and loved zombies. When I saw this movie in the theaters I didnt think, "Crap, they screwed with Romero's classic." I thought,"Crap, if those were the zombies we were screwed." I liked the story, the characters were filling space and it basically was a bite out of a zombie outbreak. Just one short story of some survivors. It was well put together, there was tension and all in all it was a good film. The beginning with Johnny Cash was a classic. If you get a chance to watch the extended trailer watch it.
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HALL OF FAMEon October 26, 2004
To my surprise I really liked "Dawn of the Dead," even in this no holds barred unrated director's cut. Like many others I considered George A. Romero's original version of "The Night of the Living Dead" to be the classic low budget horror film of all time and I also have a strong sense of affection for the original version of "Dawn of the Dead," with its wry commentary on American consumerism. So I was wary of a remake, especially given that director Zack Snyder was a feature film novice and writer James Gunn wrote both of the Scooby Doo movies. But by the end of this film I was grooving to "Down with the Sickness" during what is one of the most unsettling end credits ever. This had to be one film where everybody stayed in the theater until the light came on and then thought twice before they went outside to their cars, especially if they went to the late show (like a true horror fan ever goes out before dark to see a movie).

The basic story is the same as the original. A group of people fleeing from the zombies get into a shopping mall, where they find another group of people, security guards, who are not really happy to see them. So they have to hole up in the mall while the number of zombies outside trying to get in grows and grows. Ana (Sarah Polley) a nurse meets up with Kenneth (Ving Rhames), a cop. They then find Michael (Jake Weber), Andre (Mekhi Phifer), and his pregnant wife, Luda (Inna Korobkina). They barely get into the mall ahead of a small group of zombies and then butt heads with CJ (Michael Kely), and his and his sidekicks Terry (Kevin Zegers) and Bart (Michael Barry). Later on a truck shows up driven by tough lady Norma (Jayne Eastwood), Frank (Matt Frewer) and his daughter Nicole (Lindy Booth), sexy Monica (Kim Poirier), smartass Steve (Ty Burrell), and good ol' Tucker (Boyd Banks).

Basically the movie is divided into two parts. Most of the movie the group is just trying to keep things together inside the mall. Then in the final act they make a break for it. The best bits are in that first section and what helps during the great escape attempt is that these people are not too stupid, which is quite an accomplishment for a horror film where stupidity often runs rampant. In the mall there are two intense scenes, the first involving the decision to kill one of their members who has been bit, and the second involving Luda going into labor (yes, what happens then is even worse than you can imagine). In between there are some moments of black comedy as they find way to kill time and kill zombies. Across the street at Andy's Gun Shop poor Andy (Bruce Bohne) is on the roof, all alone, able to communicate with the mall rats by writing messages on boards. There is some nice pathos with Andy to go with the black comedy of the games he plays with his new friend Kenneth. Of course, there are also a couple of memorable muzak moments involving grotesque irony.

Because this is a 2004 film the zombies have to be seriously upgraded. Forget the lumbering ghouls of the original films, because these zombies are not only faster but not as stupid. There are also a lot more of them and the film has a couple of chilling shots and sequences where we get to see wall to wall zombies (or the entire parking lot of the mall filled with zombies at night). I approve of the changes because it allows Snyder to up the pacing and the horror. There is also a corresponding upgrade of what the living at able to throw at the dead that would make ol' Hank Hill pretty happy. Add to this the effective use of the "Aliens" rule, which is that as long as what you are shooting with your big gums are not human, you can blow them to bits and the blood and gore does not really count. You know what special effects are like today and there are enough zombies getting blown away for everyone to find one or two demises that appeal to their inner warped little child. Fortunately the three principles, Polley, Rhames and Weber, are all decent people, even in the face of the end of the world as we know it, so you do not feel like you are wallowing in the depths of human degredation (besides the flesh eating zombies).

However, given what works in the film several of the DVD bonus features are pretty lame in comparison. There is "The Lost Tape" that reveals Andy's terrifying last days and basically turns that interesting character into a joke. Equally painful is the "Special Bulletin" segment, where nobody comes closer in terms of performance or effectiveness to what we get in the opening credits as bits and pieces of information about the collapses of society flash by. In contrast, the beginning of "Raising the Dead," where we see a hundred extras lined up in zombie makeup, is better than those other two bits. Then we get the director and prosthetic makeup designer David LeRoy Anderson delineating the differences between Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3 zombies in terms of makeup that makes it seem like a totally reasonable way of approaching the universe. There are other features on the special effects (e.g., "Splitting Headaches: Anatomy of Exploding Heads") and a commentary track with director Zack Snyder and producer Eric Newman where they both seem rather pleased with the result, and while this remake of "Dawn of the Dead" is a lot slicker than its competition in the 21st century zombie movie category (to wit, "28 Days Later"), it does have its moments.
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on November 4, 2004
Zombies...the living dead...is there a more misaligned population segment in Hollywood monsterdom? Perhaps, but on the scale of sheer numbers, they seem to represent the largest group. In general, they're not evil, malicious beings, but only doing what their limited instincts command them to do...eating the flesh (and sometimes brains) of the living, and when I say living, I mean humans, as they seem not too interested in lesser forms of life like polecats, porcupines, or plankton. And there's that whole thing of transferring their `undeadness' (I sometimes get a cold from a co-worker, and I find that highly annoying, so I wonder how much worse it would be to catch the death in the same way) to those of us who find themselves in the awkward position of being viewed as a hot lunch for these ravenous creatures, there by propagating the species, if you will. And let's face it, even if we could work around that whole thing of them wanted to eat our flesh, there's still the issue of rank, flatulent, rotten, putrid, decaying flesh to deal with...also, these creepy, cadaverous automatons suffer from a severe lack of personality, focused solely on the intent of fulfilling their need for our warm, juicy, tasty fleshy parts, inhibiting any attempts to open up a meaningful, personal dialog...oh well, they sure can make for some entertaining viewing...

In essence, The Dawn of the Dead (2004), directed by Zack Snyder (S.W.A.T.) is a remake of George Romero's 1978 film of the same name, and a pretty good one, at least in my opinion. The film stars Sarah Polley (eXistenZ), Ving Rhames (Out of Sight), and Jake Weber (Wendigo). Also appearing is Mekhi Phifer (8 Mile), Ty Burrell (Black Hawk Down, Michael Kelly (Unbreakable), Matt `what the hell happened to my career' Frewer (Max Headroom) and special effects artist/director/stuntman/actor Tom Savini (From Dusk Till Dawn).

The film, set in Wisconsin (that's all we need...zombie cheese heads) opens pleasantly enough, with Ana (Polley), a nurse working in a local hospital emergency room, returning to her suburban home to meet her husband/boyfriend (I'm unsure which). They share some intimacies and then retire for the evening. Seems like a pretty good ending to a normal day...enjoy it while you can, as the morning brings forth a whole boatload of bad mojo (and zombies). As the film progresses, a small group of survivors, including Polley, Rhames, Weber, and Phifer, make their way to a local shopping mall, seeking refuge from the insanity that has ensued, as the epidemic of the dead spreads quickly. The local, still-living population is ripe for the picking, as they are still unaware of what's actually happening, and the nature of the disease, virus, or whatever...tensions run high as personalities clash and more information becomes available, and those not infected begin to understand the reality of what's happening, and also their new place on the food chain. Haphazard plans are formulated and tossed about, but how do you escape from something that's everywhere? No...this becomes an exercise in survival, and a seemingly futile one at that. Is this the end of the human race? Are we destined to become zombie chow for the ever-growing legion of the undead? It's a zombie nation, and we're the minority...

I did have fun watching this film, and thought it was done well, despite certain changes from the original. The direction from Snyder was slick, fast paced, and engaging, showing he's certainly a capable director, able to take an established storyline and infusing a certain amount of creativity, keeping most of the relevant parts, losing the outdated material from the original, while maintaining a level of respect from whence the story came. I did feel the production lost a little bit of heart from the original film (the group here never really seemed to gel as well as those in the original), focusing more on high-tech special effects rather than the character driven elements of the story, resulting in sometimes 2 dimensional characterizations (CJ the gun totin' hick, Ana the bleeding heart liberal, Michael the somewhat logical pragmatic) that you really couldn't care for if they lived or died. I thought the actors did reasonably well, but I felt they probably had little to work with, and ultimately wasted at times, which is a big difference for me from the original. There really weren't any standout performances, but I did like the guy who played Steve (Burrell), the ever-sarcastic pessimist always handy with a smarmy comment. His part was small, but memorable. I suppose the biggest difference between this film and the source was the speed of the zombies (who look really excellent, by the way). I think most of us are used to the shambling, doddering, slow as all out undead, ones we could easily evade, unless their numbers were too great. Not so here as the creatures moved extremely fast, showing excellent mobility and agility. This goes against what I would think of how a dead person would move, especially once rigor mortis begins to set. I suppose this was done to heighten the tension, which it tends to do, but it seems entirely uncharacteristic. I prefer my zombies to amble about, rather than running around like hyper children hopped up on Pixie Stix and soda pop. I did like the special effects a lot, especially those of a grand nature (do kerosene tanks really explode like small A bombs when fired upon?) Gore hounds will find sweet spots throughout, but I was a little surprised at the overall lack of visceral material (what there is is pretty intense).

The widescreen picture looks excellent, and the Dolby digital audio is clear and sharp, pretty much what I would have expected from such a recent release. Included are scads of extra features, listed here adequately enough so I won't do it again, but I did find them entertaining and worthwhile. All in all, I thought the effort was really good here, albeit superficial.

Cookieman108
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on March 25, 2004
I am a fan of the original 1979 Dawn of the dead, and when I went to see this remake I was nearly sure that it was going to be a disappointment. Well, was I wrong. This is a GREAT movie, the chaos and breakdown of society is shown in a much fuller way than the original film and the movie never really let you tabe a break. The make up, action, suspense and anxiety factor are right up there, as well as the soundtrack been also very well matched to the movie. It is not a perfect film, but it is way better than I expected, I would even say that I enjoyed it better than the original. One important thign that you should know; Do not get up and walk out as soon as the end credits starts rolling, there is more of the story unfolding in between the pages of credits and will change the end of the movie completely. Overall: EXCELLENT!
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on September 17, 2015
Ghostly
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on June 4, 2017
Love the movie and plays great.
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