Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Dawn of the Dead

Film #120


Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Year 1, Day 120

BEFORE: Coming off a pretty decent showing of Night of the Living Dead yesterday is the sequel Dawn of the Dead. Also directed by George A. Romero who is known as the “Godfather of Zombies”, this sequel was released a full ten years after the original. I predicted yesterday that Dawn of the Dead would not live up to the success of the original and today we will see if I was right or wrong.

AFTER: My prediction turned out to be right. Dawn of the Dead was very similar in style and quality compared to it’s predecessor, Night of the Living Dead. But there was still some good to be had with this film but more on that in a bit.

Night of the Living Dead featured many creative and technical problems that led to a sub-par film. With this sequel, many of the technical problems were fixed but the creative problems remained. The sound was much improved all around including sound effects, music, and dialogue. It still isn’t on an extraordinary level (read: Oscar worthy) but it’s also not a big drawback to the film. Creative problems remained and as a result, there is poor dialogue throughout and many repetitive scenes which slow down the film dramatically.

Story-wise as I’ve said already, felt very boring. The entire film takes place in a mall as the survivors try to sustain the shelter they have created indoors. There is great potential here but it is squandered. One of my favorite films, Die Hard takes place in just one location, the Nakatomi Plaza, and one of my favorite TV shows, Cheers also takes place mainly in one location, the local bar. Both of these examples were able to keep things interesting and lively, never once losing my attention despite little change in scenery. Dawn of the Dead however failed to retain my attention because there wasn’t that much going on.

Overall, there are some improvements but many underlying problems still remain. Dawn of the Dead is stylistically very similar to it’s predecessor and it really doesn’t hold up for a second film. The appeal and attraction to the unique style wears off very quickly and while it wasn’t as objectionable as I thought it would be, it’s nothing to be thrilled about. Zombie-lovers will probably like Dawn of the Dead as well, but if you’re like me and are more distant on the genre, I’d stick with the original, Night of the Living Dead.

RATING: 3 out of 5