Monday, October 16, 2006

Dead Man Jogging: Dawn of the Dead

I fear only a few things in this world:

I am afraid of heights. Actually, I'm afraid of falling from heights, or landing after said fall.

I am afraid of spiders, but that's OK because they are the spawn of all that is evil. I mean, they have 8 legs. EIGHT! I get by just fine with two, so what the hell are they using those other six for? Murder, that's what.

I am also, to a lesser extent, fearful of zombies.

Now, I know what you're thinking: Adam, zombies aren't real.

Well, you are a stupid person. Zombies are very real, and are the bane of our living civilization. Just read Max Brook's series "The Zombie Survival Guide" and "World War Z" to understand the ghoulish threat.

As we all know (all of us IN the know) zombies are slow and dumb. This has always been our only real advantage over the horde: We can run and outthink the walking dead.

Unfortunately for everyone, filmmaker Zach Snyder wasn't satisfied with George Romero's trilogy o' perfection, and he had to dream up something awful: A long distance sprint champion zombie.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not that fast. I can move when the time calls for it (alien invasion; clearance sale at Best Buy) but for the most part all I can manage is a high speed saunter.

The idea of a zombie on amphetamines scares the bejeezus out of me.

Enter "Dawn of the Dead" 2004.

The story line of this film is similar to the Romero classic: A group of survivors band together in a shopping mall during the inevitable zombie invasion.

Why a shopping mall? It's never really explained why anyone with a brain would try to fortify a building whose sole purpose is to let people in at every orifice. After a few minutes of the movie it becomes a little clearer, as no character is really playing with a full deck.

The main players in this Homeric drama are Ana (Sarah Polley from...a bunch of random crap...and "ExIsTenZe"), Kenneth (Ving F^@%#N Rhames from all that is awesome) and Michael (Jake Weber from "Meet Joe Black").

Michael is undoubtedly the hero, as he works at Best Buy and anyone who works there is a hero in my book. Kenneth is the moping cop who holds out against all odds that he will be reunited with his brother again.

Ana is...well, she's the female lead. Her role involves being put in those precarious situations women like to get into during horror movies. She is attacked in a shower, falls in love with a doomed hero, and is predated upon.

Most people who see the movie say it isn't as good as the original. This is very true, but that is not to say that this film is all bad.

The script is, though. All bad, I mean. It's just not a believable peice of work. The whole "zombies can run for weeks on end, never tiring or tearing the non-breathing muscles" thing really threw me for a loop. The dialogue can also be...sad. But really, for a zombie movie, it ain't half bad.

The acting is nice, even if it is over done. I personally like a little melodrama with my bucket o' gore, so it worked out fine for me.

Which brings me to the gore. The effects team went to the grinder to pull out the best looking headshots I've seen in years. You can really feel the bits of brain and skull when a dead-head gets it. Bravo, creepy tech guys.

As with all horror movies, there needs to be a steady supply of bodies. Now, monster movies and slasher films usually provide a variety of teenagers and old men to rip up, but zombie movies come in a different form.

Since there are already thousands of "bodies" stumbling around, the deaths have to be over-the-top of over-the-top. Heads must be severed, limbs must fly, and at least one person must die in a hideously painful way. Again, the tech guys (creepy though they may be) do not drop the ball.

One issue people had with the film was the ending, and rather than be a complete backbirth and spoil it for you, I will just say this: GET A FREAKIN' LIFE!

We zombie fans get so few movies nowadays, we should be thanking mister Snyder for even gracing the silver screens with his work. Romero only comes out with his golden epics once in a blue moon, so we need to take what we can get. (Not that we enjoy films like "Undead," but you see what I'm getting at)

This film is not perfect. In fact, it's not really up to snuff. But what it does right, it does amazingly. Despite the fact that this movie added a new dimension to my fear of zombies, I enjoyed it.

This movie gets an evening-with-George Romero-and-Kera Knightly-spoiled-by-impromptu-zombie-attack-only-to-see-George-whip-out-a-12-gauge-and-go-to-town-on-the-bastards.

On a personal note, this movie is recommended for dates where one member of the party is either squeamish or easily scared by shock-scenes.

Also, my review of "The Core" somehow ended up below "JC: Vampire Hunter." I attribute this to the fact that Jesus was said to have walked on water, so a puddle of crap like "The Core" should be no problem.

Watch on.


Anonymous said...

if I had seen this movie with the guy from 40-year-old virgin, screaming and jumping and freakin out, maybe i wouldn't have had the nightmares that followed my original viewing. but i watched it with my ass of an ex, in the dark, in the quiet...NOT COOL!

zombies that sprint=sarah that kills herself

i can't handle that shit.

Anonymous said...

Long distance zombie sprinters? We are all so dead. At least we can make huge propane bombs.