Dawn of the Dead
Unrated Director's Cut, Director's Cut
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Packed with more blood, more gore, and more bone-chilling, jaw-dropping thrills, Dawn of the Dead Unrated Director's Cut is the version too terrifying to be shown in theaters! Starring Mekhi Phifer, Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley in an edgy, electrifying thrill-ride.When a mysterious virus turns people into mindless, flesh-eating zombies, a handful of survivors wage a desperate, last-stand battle to stay alive…and human.
Many had their doubts, but in all honesty the Dawn of the Dead unrated director's cut DVD is everything a horror/zombie fan could ever hope for. Yes, the film is not Romero's and fans of the original were set to dismiss the film as a cheap way to cash in on a classic. However, Zack Snyder's Dawn is not simply a remake, but a retelling of George's brilliant vision. The DVD begins with Zack Snyder giving a cool and laidback introduction to this unrated version. He openly admits it is more gory, has more character development, and is a little longer, but it is his preferred version, the one the MPAA wouldn't allow to be released with an R rating. The commentary on this DVD is so much fun. It features a sharp, cool dialogue between the first-time movie director and producer Eric Newman; interestingly, it was recorded before the theatrical version of the film opened. There is nothing like listening to ambitious, funny, excited filmmakers enthusiastically discuss every facet of the filmmaking experience.
Though it has no full-on "making of" documentaries, the DVD includes a nice suite of extras geared towards giving the viewer more background information on the zombie apocalypse. There is 15 minutes of home video footage documenting "Andy's"' final days fighting off the zombies from his gun shop. Special Report: Zombie Invasion is a very cool 20-minute collage of news coverage giving governmental and scientific updates of the zombie crisis from across the country. The three unrated documentaries all showcase the special effects team and their fearless leader, David LeRoy Anderson. They focus on how to explode heads, the most memorable zombie kills, and the zombie makeup process. It's definitely not for the squeamish, but will be fascinating for those who dare to take a look. The strangest thing about this DVD is the almost non-mention of George Romero and his Dead films. In fact, if you missed the credit "Based on a screenplay by George Romero," you may never know it was his vision that laid the foundation. Is this a legal issue? Who knows, but it is definitely a little odd. However, this should not hold genre fans back from seeing this film. You will not be disappointed because this DVD and the film rock. --Rob Bracco
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Romero's Dawn was a classic, and I was not at all sure the remake would be worthwhile, but I was happily surprised. Ramping up the zombies to a Resident Evil type speed was a stretch for me, but it works in the context of this new story. Like TCM, this was not just a remake but a rewrite, the only way it could have worked. This movie was done well enough to keep original Dawn fans happy and bring a new legion of zombie lovers into the fold. Sure, some of the dialogue was cheese, but its a horror movie for god's sake! What do you expect? (And its not like other popular genre's are devoid of cheese.)
The characters were well-defined, even if some were merely caricatures of societal elements. The special effects were top-notch, and the frenzied zombies gave a sense of imminent danger rather than the forboding sense of doom from the original.
For all those who complained about the ending... you obviously left the theater too soon. In recent years, many movies have delighted in putting extras in the credits... in this movie, if you left when the credits began to roll... well, don't make that foolish mistake again. When it finally came to a close, I felt the perfect bridge into the world given to us in Day of the Dead.
Fantastic movie and a must have for any worthwhile collection!
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!