For me 'Dawn Of The Dead' is so much more than just a zombie movie. It for me is a memory. I remember a time in my early teens when I happened to catch the end of a film on BBC2 in the early hours of the morning and then trying my hardest for months on end to find out what film it actually was. Eventually I managed to track it down and smile as not only had I found the film, it was and would remain to be my favourite zombie movie of all time! To this day this film doesn’t get boring for me and I can happily watch it in all of its 2hour 10minute glory!
The plot is one of which we now see all of the time. A small group of people trying to survive against a zombie outbreak. It captures the realisation of what is actually happening, the distress of trying to survive and stay on the move and the loneliness that finally sets in. Our group of survivors take to the air in a bid to fly as far as they can to find safety, after tiredness, hunger and lack of fuel are too much to take they decide to land on top of a shopping mall to hold up. After getting the essential supplies they need from the mall they stop to take a breather and come to the decision that they should make it more of a long term shelter and think of ways to make the mall zombie free.
The rest of the movie centres around the mall and how they go about not only clearing it out but making it a home. This for me is where the movie really shines. It takes quite a horrible situation and flips it around and puts you in a place that you wouldn’t actually mind being in if this was actually happening to you. After all the mall has everything you need! Food to last years! Arcades! Every shop you could think of and last but not least a gun store! !
Obviously we cant have a good zombie movie without gore! It’s a good job Romero and Tom Savini knew exactly what to deliver and when! This film was cut, cut again, then cut some more! Now we can actually see what they wanted us to see! From the exploding head scene to the zombie children shooting, it’s all there and it’s all fantastic!!
Usually we are built up have our fill of gore and plot development and then are let down by the ending. Not in Dawn Of The Dead. This is where we get to see looters raid the mall and destroy everything the survivors have fought for! It’s a huge finale filled with buckets of gore and heartache for the survivors as they see the looters take from them everything!
Overall this film for me is the cornerstone of all zombie movies. It has your classic Romero zombies (not any of these new day marathon sprinting zombies that can outrun cars) in a setting that is bang on the money! The right amount of gore, character development and simple well executed plot means that for me this film is the benchmark and to this day nothing has touched it!