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Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Reviewed by Ogre3000

The new version opens with a normal hectic scene in a Wisconsin hospital, two nurses trying to exchange days for the weekend and we are introduced to Ana. Soon we leave the hospital behind and follow Ana to her home in the homogenous suburbs. We watch as the last normal night in America begins to end with Emergency Broadcasts that she and her husband miss while making love in the shower.

Then, morning, Day One of the Dead.

Ana and her husband are attacked and she barely escapes with her life. In a chilling scene she guns the car down suburban streets gone totally insane, flaming houses and vehicles, police and fire dept. units trying to respond to total breakdown madness. The end of the world. Ana finally goes off the road, crashes her car, fade to black.

She awakens from the wreck, stumbles out to look at the business end of a pump shotgun weilded by a large police officer (Kenneth). They join up, find other survivors (two men and a pregnant woman- Michael, Andre and Luda) and then, the mall.

The mall becomes a place of some security and other survivors make it to safety. Some nasty surprises occur especially one that I will never forget, not for the weak of stomach. But, one of the best bits in the movie is the bonding of Kenneth and Andy (with white wipe message boards) of Andy's Gun Sales down the street from the mall, Ving Rhames really shines in his role.

Finally, the mall dwellers decide they will not live nor die like rats in a trap, and their loosely-planned idea is to find a boat and head out to an island someplace (which was suggested by one of the port security guys in the original), hopefully zombie-free. They fix up two mall tram busses with armor and such but are forced prematurely to do something for Andy who is starving and then things go wrong.

Well, don't want to give away the whole movie. Comparing the two, I would have to say the first is more personal. You get to know Steven, Roger, Fran and Peter. There were survivors in the second movie that showed up later (in the truck) that I never even learned their names and you mostly didn't care. The zombies are faster, really rotten-looking but don't have the stand-out personalities of the Romero zombies. And another big dif is that the mall was seen as kind of a fortress in the '79 film and very important to the survivors. But the 2004 one is a prison and not much made of "zombies at the gate" threat. Actually, they use very little of the mall in the new one, save for incidental cut-scenes and in DOTD '79 they used it a lot, from top to bottom.

Welp, I enjoyed both, though still think "Class of '79" is the best one though I give "Class of '04" 5 out of 5 stars and will see it again and will buy the DVD when it comes out...

Till next time,
Carl aka OGRE3000

 

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Director
Zack Snyder

Screenplay
James Gunn

Released
March 19, 2004

Cast
Sarah Polley
Ving Rhames
Jake Weber
Mekhi Phifer
Ty Burrell

Full Credits at IMDb

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray