Friday, April 17, 2009

Its a head exploding good time!!

Dawn of the Dead 1979
Director: George Romero
Writer: George Romero
Starring Gaylen Ross, Ken Foree, David Emge, Scott Reiniger and Tom Savini

The zombie film is one of the most popular genres of the modern horror film and Romero is the father of this genre. Each of his films brings us something new, but I think Dawn is the pinnacle of his creative genius. This to me is the Citizen Kane of horror films.This is the film that spawned tons of Italian knock offs but the original is the best. Its influence is still felt today in any zombie film that gets put out today and Romero's other zombies films are always judged harshly next to this masterpiece(though I have a certain fondness for Day of the Dead). But lets get onto the meat of the story, pun intended.
The plot is this, there is an ever growing epidemic of zombies and the people are having a tough time dealing with it, and most of them run. The story follows a couple Fran and Stephen who work for a Pittsburgh news station, Steve is a Pilot and Fran is a producer and they are sick of it so they decide to make a run for it with the helicopter. Along for the ride is their friend Roger and his new buddy Peter both members of a tactical SWAT unit that have had enough. They all fly out and after a near miss they find an indoor mall and decide to check it out. They like what they see and decide to hole up there. They clean it of the zombies and live it up until some raiders notice their helicopter on the roof and decide to lay siege to the mall, pissed that they won't share it with them. It all leads to an explosive climax where the future is uncertain.
This film is just exemplary. The direction by Romero is flawless and I only think Creepshow comes close to showcasing his great directing style. The writing is good as well a lot has been said about the zombies as consumers analogy, and I think he pulls it off well without being too heavy handed or preachy. The acting is solid but the crux of the movie falls on Foree who really carries the film and I think without him the film wouldn't be as powerful as it is. Emge is great as Stephen who always seems out of his element. Reiniger as Roger is manic in his portrayal and you just know he is going to do something stupid at some point. Ross is great as the female lead who is just as commanding as the males. A special shout out goes to Savini as Thor too, he is just a delight to watch. The effects are phenomenal and are only surpassed by Savini's work in Day of the Dead. And this has one of the best soundtracks for any film, the Beyond is the only one I can think of that equals it for its use of music in a film. This film is just flawless in every way and it never gets old. I must have watched this over a hundred times now. Not much else I can say other than if you have not seen this and you are a horror fan you are doing yourself a disservice.

This one gets 5 shotgun blasts to the head out of 5

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