Monday, 4 July 2011

Dawn of The Dead (2004) The Director's Cut

One moment in 2004 has probably caused more debate and discussion on zombie lore than any other in recent history.

It is 6.37 am. Ana Clarke's husband collapses to the bed after Vivian, their next door neighbour's little girl, takes a chunk out of his neck. Ana throws the girl out of the bedroom and she slides across the hallway. She watches in horror as the girls springs to her feet with the agility of a gymnast and, screeching like a rabid stray, charges towards her.

"Call an Ambulance!"

Boyle's 28 Days Later featured running 'infected' in 2002 and there's no denying it paved the way for a massive increase in popularity for the apocalyptic survival horror genre. At the time however, it was referred to as 'not actually a zombie movie', a statement that years later Mr Boyle denied. It was a zombie movie, just a little different.

Zack Snyder's remake of George A. Romero's 1978 classic had a lot to live up to.

When the movie hit cinemas we anxiously set off to see what a mess they'd made of one of our all time favorites. We were pleasantly surprised.

Snyder's remake delivers at a terriying pace that keeps up with modern blockbusters and the action sequences are intense and believeable. The movie is an ensemble piece, dispensing with the small group of the original and introduces a significantly larger and relatively well rounded cast of varying archetypes with a little more depth than the usual cliques.

Dawn of The Dead (2004) - Ensemble cast.

Ana's (Sarah Polley) development through the movie is not necessarily clear and sometimes shifts a little too easily; a sore point with many, but the performances are top notch. Rhames is superb as Kenneth, a definite nod to Foree's Peter and Jake Webber's Michael plays a very strong supporting lead.

The production is terrific and, as a Hollywood big budget affair, the effects and make up are as good as they come. The additional footage in The Director's Cut release doesn't make significant changes, but if you're a fan of the film, they don't detract and Andy's 'Lost Tape' is not to be missed.

Andy (Bruce Bohne)

Look out for cameo's from Scott Reiniger, Tom Savini and Ken Foree. Snyder is clearly a fan the master's original work. Romero is reported to have said about the movie "It was better than I expected. ... The first 15, 20 minutes were terrific, but it sort of lost its reason for being. It was more of a video game. I'm not terrified of things running at me; it's like Space Invaders. There was nothing going on underneath."

Fans of the genre were split down the middle with regards to the movie working or not but one thing's for sure - for every person that says 'original' somebody else pipes up with 'remake.' The 2004 movie was unquestionably apocalyptic and gets a Zombie Shop thumbs up.

We certainly don't think Snyder's Dawn trumped Romero's or that running zombies are the 'correct' zombies, but there's no denying that runners, artistic licence or not, are darned scary. The 2004 remake has earned its place as a must-have movie in the great zombie library.

What's your take? Runners or Shamblers?


  1. It would be interesting to see what the extra footage is.

    I like the traditional shamblers, but runner are far more scarier. Plus you need cardio.

  2. Couldn't agree with you more, the remake is fab (I have the Director's Cut)and think it is a welcome addition :D

  3. Shelldrake - I won't give it away but they up the gore factor, you get a better perspective on some of the events in the film and they round out the characters a little more. Worth seeing if you liked the movie.

    Monty - We are rather fond of it! :)

  4. I loved this movie! It was great and had so many great people working on it. Romero was actually one of the screenwriters along side James Gunn (one of my favorites)which made the movie have the same feel as the original.

    As for shamblers or runners. I do have to agree with everyone else, runners are scary as hell. I only hope when the impending apocalypse arises that we only have shamblers on our hands :)

  5. Nice post and awesome pictures.
    Have a nice independence day!

  6. good post i liked that movie alot. but i prefer shamblers to runners any day

  7. As a stand alone zombie movie Snyder's film is okay, but as a remake it falls down in every department except maybe make up and special effects. I am not a big fan of this film at all and I'm a great believer of the adage "if it ain't broken, don't fix it!"
    Snyder's film is a pointless remake and shows a great deal of disrespect to Romero's original (Snyder admits he has never seen the original), which to my mind is the best zombie film ever made. Because I have such great affection for the original explains why I am so critical of the remake. When I first heard that the remake was being made my first reaction was "why?"
    The first ten minutes of the remake are good and so are the making of documentaries on the DVD but as for the rest, a big fat meh!
    Runners or shamblers? Runners are silly, shamblers are scary.

  8. A very good point well made Bryan. The original blew us away - A thoughtful movie with real characters and a message, AND zombies!

    Runners or Shamblers? A 'Marmite' choice if ever there was one. :)

  9. Loved this movie!

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  11. I absolutely love this movie. While I can't say it's the deepest movie ever made, (it does play a bit like a video game), it's still got good writing, great characters, freaking awesome zombies and it's fun as hell to watch. Overall, a modern day classic.

    Remakes should be re-imaginings. I've always felt that way. I feel that Zack Snyder's version was modern, still honored the classics, and avoided some of the silliness of the original. The guy checking his blood pressure during a shootout/zombie battle was just stupid.

    Before anybody's head explodes, I loved the original. It was groundbreaking, totally re-watchable, totally original, and an all around great movie. There were still some bits that made me wonder a little.

    Runners vs. shamblers? Tough call. I agree with Shelldrake & Random Girl that runners are way scarier. Those bastards from 28 days/28 weeks are terrifying. I honestly think if there is a zombie apocalypse and they end up being fast, humanity is F-U-K-D. Shamblers would be easier to dispatch and outrun but they seem more like what re-animated dead people would be like.

    I'm hoping for shamblers.

    Thanks to Zombie Ad for posting. Thanks to everybody else for sharing your thoughts. Good hunting, folks. May your mind be quick and your hide be tough.

  12. Glad you enjoyed it Patrick. Happy hunting to you too sir! :)

  13. One of my favorite zombie flicks. The first fifteen minutes alone add a wealth to the mythos. I am haunted by Anna's flight from her suburbs and the poor woman she sees in the back of the bus. That and you have to love following that up with Johnny Cash. Chilling.

    Runners or Shamblers? I like both for different reasons. I hope that if it does come down to it, we are lucky enough to have Shamblers. The violence and quickness of Runners scare the crap out of me. I'm the chunky guy with a lung condition - yep - you know how this ends for me. :-O At least with Shamblers I'll have a chance.

  14. Anna's flight is certainly the best part of the movie. We're hoping for shamblers too Jesse, for everyone's sake!