Review: Dawning of the Dead

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Review

I got to say, whilst releasing a non-festive themed Zombie movie right at the start of the season might seem like an odd choice, I was more than pleasantly surprised to see that the sick artwork was backed up by an equally sick little flick.

Whilst Tony Jopia’s ‘Dawning of the Dead’ isn’t going to trailblaze the genre into a (much needed) new direction, it certainly packs enough of a punch to get a recommendation from me – and punch well above its weight it does to.

The plot, a usual hash up of conspiracy, science gone wrong, some government experiments and the zombie apocalypse, sees a group of news presenters and crew holding up in their office block as the rest of the world goes to rat shit. There are a number of sub-plots involving some special forces guys trying to keep (the somewhat noticeable) outbreak quiet, a news anchor overcoming her fears and finding herself, and a couple of comic release foreigners who are ironically trying to break into the newly fortified TV studio, but all things considered, from my perspective anyway, all of these little diversions simply throw more meat in front of the undead and aren’t worth worrying about too much!

Not that I am trying to undermine the plot in any way, its functional enough, as are its cliché menagerie of characters, but it is hardly a selling point of what is ultimately another by the numbers zombie apocalypse movie. Indeed, I was somewhat relieved to see a film with a such obvious title plagiarism being as cohesive as this, albeit somewhat contrived.

What impressed me more was how the plot allowed for a satisfying amount of violence, blood and gore. The different characters, separated in location allowed for different contexts (and ultimately weaponry) to be used to see the living and the recently living face off, tooth, nail and, well anything else anyone could get their hands on. The pace of the movie rocketed by as mists of blood (courtesy of meat shield characters) sprayed from each and every angle. A mixture of practical effects and the typical head-shot/blood spatter after effects plugins allowed for far more gratuitous content than the rather modest budget would indicate.

The zombies themselves looked ace, and there are hordes of them – indeed the someone went the extra mile with the extras in this movie, the scenes were crawling with them. Nothing camp about them either which was a nice touch, these things are feral! There are a number of show-stopping kills including some nice gun play, an angle grinder/chainsaw-esk multi-takedown and of course a number of messy disembowelling’s. If you are in the mood for a quick fix for your blood-lust, without the post-movie analysis, then ‘Dawning of the Dead’ is your movie!

Overall there is little else to say. It’s a shame that something new wasn’t brought to the table, but hell, when your budgets is limited, I think you got to make a choice, do you go for something you know works and go full bore at it? Or do you try to convince people to look past the budget and bear witness to an existential masterpiece (made for a couple of thousand bucks?). I know what my choice would be – even if the days of mesmerising practical effects in the much beloved genre seem way behind us.

If you have had enough at looking at Santa’s bulging sack this festive month, and need something to give you a break from all that merriment and festivities then ‘Dawning of the Dead’ is out on the 5th of December on all major VOD platforms.

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