Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

The long-awaited sequel to the horror classic, Night of the Living Dead, it follows a group of survivors who take up shelter in a mall during the zombie apocalypse.  Sound a lot like the 2004 version? Think again.  Unlike the 2004 version, these survivors can escape.  That's right, they stay because they feel its their best shot, not because they feel trapped.

I liked this movie because it gets into the "what would you do?" of the zombie apocalypse. Where would you go? How would you live?  Who would you take?

The story follows 4 survivors: Stephen, Francine, Peter, and Roger.  Stephen is a news helicopter pilot who decides he's getting the hell out of town, and asks his girlfriend (the news anchor) to come with him.  He also asks his friend, Peter, to come with because he's part of a SWAT team.  Peter asks his friend and fellow SWAT, Roger, to come with them after they finish a mission clearing zombies from an apartment building.  They both can see that they're losing this war, there's just too many zombies, so they go with Stephen and Francine in the news chopper.

One of the main themes of this movie is Greed.  1978 was near the beginning of the rampant commercialism that defined the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, and still affects us today.  Zombies greedily feasting on the living, the living envying what other survivors have, and no one willing to part with what they think is theirs.

Why should you watch this?  It is an iconic zombie movie, and it helped form the Zombie genre as we know it today.  It created the now cliche mall scene, but it did it with intelligence and purpose, not bumbling into a mall and trying to make it work.  It has some very powerful themes and gets us thinking about how, or if, we would do things differently than the characters.

Spoilers!  Click this link to hear my deeper thoughts on the movie. Just be warned that it involves me talking about things in the movie that will spoil it for you if you haven't seen it yet.

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