APRIL 2004

> DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) | danielle hess

Directed by Zack Snyder.  Written by George A. Romero (1978 screenplay) and James Gunn (screenplay).  Starring Sarah Polley (Ana), Ving Rhames (Kenneth), Jake Weber (Michael), and Mekhi Phifer (Andre).

What happens when you bring a zombie movie back from the dead... it bites.

It's almost impossible to understand how a movie based on such a great original, with a great cast, and a great screenwriter could be anything other than great.

In the original, Romero uses the standard zombie story to critique American consumerism. Most of the zombies' memory is obliterated; however their memory of the mall remains intact. They can't remember family, but they remember shopping.

James Gunn decimates the original plot, leaving only a tale of zombies and assholes. In Romero's classic, there are four characters locked in a mall. Audience members feel the characters' isolation because the relationship between audience and character is carefully nurtured. Unfortunately, Gunn adds nearly 10 new characters. What he fails to understand is that audiences do not relate to caricatures.

I'd also like to say that making the zombies run faster would have been more effective had it not been stolen directly from Danny Boyle's far superior, 28 Days Later.

Even with all of the problems in this movie, I'll concede that it was fun to watch. It's mindless, zombie fun. I just wish that it had not been a remake of one of the finest horror movies ever made. I'll also admit that the main actors do an excellent job, but their performances aren't enough to save this movie.

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

She likes movies.