New version sheds light on old school film

New version sheds light on old school film

by Andrew Goodell

Attempting to prove this notion with his interpretation of theGeorge Romero classic “Dawn of the Dead”, director Zack Snyder’s2004 version clings loosely to the 1978 original.

At its very basic plot level, the new version is not verydifferent from the former version. It centers on a small band ofpeople trapped in a shopping mall in the midst of an apocalyptictake over of the world by endless hoards of flesh-eatingzombies.

Aside from numerous subtle differences between the two filmsthat would only be pertinent to hardcore fans of Romero’s zombiemovie trilogy (“Night of the Living Dead”, “Dawn of the Dead”, “Dayof the Dead”) there are several plot differences that exist.

Some of these major revisions include the addition of severalunneeded new characters and the fact that the core group ofsurviving humans do not arrive at or escape from the mall byhelicopter.

Among all of the major differences between the 1978 and 2004versions of “Dawn of the Dead”, one new addition was quite welcome.The undead legions in this film do not slowly lumber at their humanvictims as seen in countless other zombie flicks. The zombies inthe new version attack like a pack of rabid animals eager to sinktheir teeth into the flesh of the living.

Horror movie purists may see this as the movie’s fatal flawbecause it is such a break from tradition. However, giving thezombies added mobility increased the excitement level of the filmbecause it lowered the odds of survival for the living. Becausethis film made it easier for zombies to catch and kill people thisnew version can be considered scarier.

This improvement along with some interesting special effects,over head shots of the undead mobs outside the mall and make-upwork by an army of visual artists improved upon the originalsignificantly.

Despite these tune-ups, this movie meandered more than a littletowards the middle of the film. Safe and secure on the second floorof mall in Everett, Wisconsin, all of the characters talk abouttheir lives, squabble about petty differences and joke around withone another.

These scenes are obviously geared towards getting the audienceinvested in these characters. By this mid-point in the film, theaverage audience member is no longer willing to try and identifywith any of the characters. One is more concerned with how thesepeople will inevitably be killed off.

This lack of interest in whether the characters live or die isnot uncommon in the world of zombie movies. As a result, viewersshould not take this infraction to heart because it simply comeswith the territory.