Anyone who’s read my review for the original Dawn of the Dead knows I can’t figure out why everyone thinks it’s such an amazing film. It was slow, boring and far too long. Well, here I am, reviewing the remake, saying that I enjoyed it more than the original. Hell has frozen over. Very rarely does a remake even live up to its original, never mind surpass it. Dawn of the Dead, released in 1994, is exciting, graphic, at times terrifying and a slew of other traits the first film is not. Still not as good as the start of this franchise, Night of the Living Dead, this movie more than lived up to my expectations and was simply an enjoyable time.
Dawn of the Dead takes the same zombie apocalypse premise but adds a lot more action and plot. Instead of watching a group of only four people sit in a mall for months, doing little more than shopping or talking, this story boasts a larger cast who experiences things like the birth of a baby, a runaway dog, playing shooting games with a neighbor and falling in love. The zombies are less humorous and more disgusting in this version, which allowed for it to be scary instead of funny. And believe it or not, there is some character development. It may not be a ton, but there was enough to evoke emotion from me when certain characters met their demise. One would assume the original film is full of character development given its long runtime and small cast, but that’s not the case. I barely felt a connection with those characters and these I did.
This remake pays tribute to the original while still managing to make its own mark. It reminds audiences of why they loved the first film (all but me) and why they love zombies. It even features a cameo from one of its original stars. This film does what Rob Zombie couldn’t: it builds new layers onto a successful franchise without trashing it. It applauds where it comes from instead of insulting it. And it manages to branch out and introduce new ideas in a way that is both respectful and innovative.
Dawn of the Dead is gory, disgusting, action-packed, tragic and scary. And it is fun to watch. It reminded me of why I love gross, fun horror. The entertainment value of this film is through the roof, much more so than the original. Zombie fans! Come one, come all... this film is worth seeing. While the creatures on horror island were laughing after spotting the zombies from the first Dawn of the Dead, they’re running in fear from these.
If you liked Dawn of the Dead, you might also like Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead.