Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Ken Foree and Scott H. Reiniger in Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Not Dead Funny Enough

America is still in chaos following the zombie apocalypse and it's getting worse. Eye in the sky reporter Stephen (David Emge) and his girlfriend Francine (Gaylen Ross) take the network's chopper to escape, picking up Stephen's cop friend Roger (Scott H. Reiniger) and buddy Peter (Ken Foree) as they stop at the police station to refuel the chopper. But having flown over rednecks using the zombies as target practice they start to run low on gas so park the chopper on an abandoned shopping mall where they can hold up for a while. But with the place becoming surrounded by zombies they will have to move on sooner rather than later.

It is a simple fact that movies are a generational thing, movies I loved as a teenager in the 80s often don't work for modern audiences whilst the majority of the movies from the 70s don't impress me that much. It is for that reason why I don't go as wild for George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" as those who watched it for the first time back in 1978, in fact I find it frequently tedious and not the humorously dark movie which many find it although I can appreciate that with out Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" we wouldn't have the more entertaining zombie movies we have now.

Now "Dawn of the Dead" is a simple movie as after a few moments of drama as are 4 friends come together and make it to a shopping mall which is a nice idea because we have the perfect place to hold up with its security from the undead as well as a lot of supplies. But as we see being stuck in the space ends up getting to them especially when the number of zombies surrounding them increases. But along the way there is some sly subtle commentary such as a scene where we see how a high rise block only has African American residents. As I said it is simple enough to follow and those with sharp eyes will find plenty to amuse and even for those who don't have sharp eyes some of the out and out comedy is entertaining such as the hit and run scene in the mall.

The thing is that "Dawn of the Dead" often feels slow and lacking in edge of the seat atmosphere or at least when watched now. It also lacks characters that you can really warm to, yes Roger and Peter are amusing especially in the raid on the shopping mall scene but do you care for them? Well for me it is a no.

What this all boils down to is that "Dawn of the Dead" didn't completely work for me but can appreciate not only its significance but also why those who watched it back in the 1970's rate it highly.

Tags: Zombie Movies