Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dawn of the Dead (1978) Review:

George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) was as much a critically successful movie as it was a controversial one. With very few films pushing the boundaries of realistic horror and gore, Romero not only created a universal icon but brought upon a wave of new horror films to come. Who knew he would even make a sequel 10 years down the road from his original masterpiece. Nor is any less of greatness expected. Here is another example of a highly defined sequel that matches its parent very closely. Some may even consider it better than the first.

The group of regular people
This second "dead" sequel  starts a story about a group of strangers who come together under a common roof and try to survive against the ongoing zombie invasion. Upon their travels, they'll come across many obstacles and end up taking refuge in a shopping mall inhabited by zombies. It may not seem like much of a plot, but in fact it still packs in quite a lot of material into the running time - considering the time is now almost up to two and half hours. Out of the four people, two of them are military buddies and the other two are a couple.

Interestingly enough, George A. Romero, who wrote the screenplay did another great job at giving depth to these characters. The more and more these characters spend time with each other, the more of a bond a viewer will begin to see between them. This allows for character development and the ability for the audience to actually feel invested in the story that they are watching. Witnessing how this group of regular people fight to survive the every day occurrence of running into a zombie is a mixed bag of emotions. Why? According to what these characters do, you can still have fun during a zombie apocalypse, you can tease them, you can throw pies in their faces, and you can even run over them with vehicles.

They just don't quit!
The thing is, you'd also learn not to let your guard down. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt unfortunately. When incidences like these, happen, you (the viewer) will feel the loss of that investment that was put into those believable characters. Helping make these losses feel realistic are the groundbreaking special effects for the gore scenes handled by Tom Savini. It is still not a frequent event but there is plenty of blood and a few disgusting moments. Perhaps the only thing that didn't feel in place was the soundtrack. In various scenes it does work but in others it doesn't at all like the memorable but goofy end credit song to the film. Other than that it’s hard to debate about things that could've been improved because there's not much to not enjoy.

George A. Romero produced a sequel that not only has better production quality but still maintains the ability to capture its audience with a story that compels with such a small cast.

Points Earned --> 9:10

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