Notes and summary below by Sopang Men and Schuyler Lystad (2006).
Ana: Sarah Polley
Kenneth: Ving Rhames
Michael: Jake Weber
Andre: Mekhi Phifer
CJ: Michael Kelly
Directed: Zach Snyder
Writer: James Gunn, George Romero (1978 Screenplay)
Type of Zombies: The typical "hungry for the flesh of the living" Hollywood zombie with the big exception that these guys can run. Fast. These zombies are willing to break a sweat for their meals. (SM)
Fast fast fast, and clever. If you pull open a door, they see it, and learn. You call their names, and they look. They can differentiate different kinds of meals. Forget dogs, they want you. And man are they ugly. (SL)
This 2004 remake expands on the concepts of Romero's original. It has the same basic storyline of a group of survivors taking shelter in a shopping mall but their numbers more than doubles from the original's four. The first ten minutes alone are some of the most frenetic and exciting scenes ever on film.
Ana, a nurse, gets home after a long shift to her loving husband and daughter, too wrapped up in them to pay attention to the Special Report on TV. She's woken up the next morning by her daughter who has blood on her face. When her husband goes to see what's wrong, he's bitten. Before long, she's scrambling out her bathroom window, trying to get to her car, as she sees her entire neighborhood go to hell.
She stops at a car wreck and sees people walking around that don't look quite right, but before she can get much of a glimpse, a man tries to rip her out of her car. She punches the gas, goes through a guard rail, and into a tree. When Ana comes to, a shotgun is pointed at her head, with Kenneth on the other end. Once she proves she's not a zombie, they set off together, looking for a safe place. After running into some other survivors huddled around a pistol, they enter a mall, which is more or less safe.
The security guards try to save the place for themselves, but Ana and Kenneth talk their way in. One of the guards has a good heart and help to lock up the other two. Some other survivors come to the mall, but once it's secured, and they know they're safe, waiting for rescue is the name of the game.
That rescue never comes, and they devise a way to escape: armor up the two shuttle buses, get ammo and weaponry from the gun store across the street, and make for one of the survivors' boat, in hopes that they can find an island that's not infected. Carnage ensues, with chainsaws, propane tanks equipped with flares, and trusty firearms as they battle their way across a ruined town to the marina, in order to get to a nearby island.
Pervasive strong horror violence and gore, language, and sexuality. This one is more realistically gruesome than the 1978 Dawn. There isn't a lot of "dismemberment by zombie" but we see a bunch of zombie sniper shots with bits and pieces of skull flying everywhere. Near the end is a great, blood splattering close-up of a chainsaw ripping through a poor soul.
-- The cause of the zombies is never actually explained in the film, nor is the word "zombie" ever actually used.
-- According to the Director, Starbucks refused to be featured in the film.
-- It was shot in chronological order.
I never saw the original, but this movie makes me want to. There's plenty of action, comedy, drama, more action, gore, and weapons and scenarios that'll make even the most seasoned zombie buster cringe. Plus, the acting is better than it needs to be. Good wholesome entertainment. (SL) Score: A
No Brains...No Brains...:
A young girl risks the lives of a few people when she makes a run to a building across a zombie filled street just to get back her dog. Her rescue mission ultimately compromises the group's mall fortress. (SM)
"How do you think your God will judge you? Well, friends, now we know. When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth." -- Televangelist