Dawn of the Dead*
So last night I went out and got home sorta late. This morning I woke up early then went back to sleep and woke up later. The second sleep came with some of those super crazy vivid dreams. The kind that wake you up. So I snapped awake I remembered Dawn of the Dead was playing at 12:20. It was 11:55. I jumped out of bed, got dressed and hustled down the street to catch the 12:20 showing. On the way there I stopped off to buy a bagel and wasabis and a water. By the time I got to the theater I felt all crazy sitting in my seat. I was thinking- Jeez, just 20 minutes ago I was at my parents house in some sort of lightning storm and some big truck was parked right up on the lawn and these worker guys in hardhats were unloading giant tubing or flexible pipes or something and I stuck my head out the front door and screamed at the workers asking they what they were doing but they couldn't hear me over the rain- and next thing you know I was in reality sitting in a movie theater eating a bagel.
Dawn of the Dead. I was psyched for this flick. The original DotD is one of my favorite horror movies. It had that perfect blend of reality, and scary, and funny, and gory- with some hazy statement about consumerism or something. The thing that I always love about a good horror film is when they have reality injected right in. Once you get the reality thing coursing through your veins then you can give yourself over to zombies in a much better way. Without reality all you got is a bunch of dead dopes running around acting scary with the blood splatter splatter and the chompity chomp chomping.
So when this movie started my hopes for it shot through the roof. It started off amazingly strong. It felt like the director knew what to do and how to do it new. It tasted freshly rotten. The zombies moved all fast which was nice because the arms-out white-eyed moaners just don't cut the mustard anymore. And it captured that stunned amazement of waking up and finding out the world went crazy and violent and out of control overnight. No one to turn to but you. No moment to gather your bearings. Turning yourself over to raw instinct in a modern world. I dig that vibe. My only hope was it would maintain realism. In the actions and reactions of the main characters (and in the zombies).
Anyway our lucky winners end up going to the Mall of course- but this time more characters came on board. A pregnant chick. Some hicks. Some baddies or whatever. Fine. But all the newbies running around started to clutter up my Mall. I think at one point we were up to a dozen characters which became difficult to manage. Then people started acting semi-irrationally. Acting dumb about stuff. Planning plans that didn't really make total sense. Reality started slipping. It was like you can hear the director going to the screenwriter, 'Hey! I wanna shoot some action in the parking garage!' And the screenwriter being like, 'Well, why would they go into the umm.. parking garage? For what?' And the director bites into a sandwich all chewy says, 'That's your job, Scribbly. Now get to scribbling!'
When push came to shove though I did like this movie. Nothing about it said 'classic' and it never returned to the heartsinking greatness of how it opened. But it is respectable dumb fun no doubt. The problem is this movie is a remake of something that is a classic. The original had more reality and more soul. So the lacking here was more apparent. Like in the original, when Flyboy got bit on the leg the pain is extra juicy because we know Flyboy. When their home/Mall gets wrecked by the bikers I felt for them because that was my home too. But this Mall never really became a home for this new group. They were just going through motions till moving on. And in the end-- so was I.
Three Good Things About this Movie
- The opening sequence through the opening credits is just dead on. When the
words 'Dawn of the Dead' appeared on the screen I felt a little teary from
- Ving Rhames is fun to watch do stuff and listen to talk.
- The director did a nice job. There was one explosion that was a good money shot.
Three Bad Things About this Movie
- I didn't really care about any of the characters. Very whatevery there.
- The violence was jolty but didn't really make me cringe. And that skip-a-frame 28 Days Later stylee is now just distracting and feels lazy.
- Not enough feasting. Only lots of biting and jumping.
All in all this a good horror film on its own. Some of the images are stuck in my head and alot of it was straight fun. But throughout the movie I felt the goodness of it sliding and disappointment setting in. It never really got its footing. And by the end the whole movie it had shifted down and notch from anything truly great and just accepted itself to be a respectable remake that woulda coulda shoulda been better. I wanted to walk out jazzed up and juiced with a lowkey paranoid suspicion that everyone around me could become a zombie, instead I just shuffled out all slow like one of the old school zombies- still hungry for the one thing this movie was missing... Braaaiinssss.