johnlink ranks DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)

I’ve seen the remake if this classic Romero title, but never caught the original. I knew going in that it is widely considered one of the premier entries into the zombie genre, and that many think Romero should have stopped with this, his second tale in the Dead series.

This film tells of four people who set out into a zombie-filled world to survive.

I watched DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) on 10.7.09. It was my first viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

It is widely known that the zombie genre takes our own malaise and turns it around on us. It is certainly fitting that Romero set this in a shopping mall and then, when one character asks why the zombies are there, someone replies that “This must have been an important place in their lives.”

Some of the social commentary is subtle, as in the way zombies often carry around normal objects, and try to use them as they did in human form, and others is blatant, as in when a television producer cares much more about ratings than ensuring the safety of his viewers. But, ultimately, I did not feel like this is the big awakening of zombie movies that I had heard. I know it has a high rating, currently an eight on IMDB, so maybe I am desensitized a little bit from some of the later films that borrow heavily from this one. But, as a film, I did not feel this was as brilliant as I had heard. SCORE: 6

MOVIE

The stuff in the mall is mostly great. All the expeditions deliver the proper level of suspense, and the characters were allowed to develop their own personalities rather than just being your typical blandly stuck heroes. I did appreciate that very much. Sometimes, however, the zombies were so slow moving and, well, brainless, that I could not believe anybody would actually be caught by them. The gore in this film is comical, but I can’t really blame it for that. I’m sure it seemed scary in its time, but watching it now all one can think is that this guy got a bunch of paint on his shirt and face. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. I was sure one thing was going to happen, and when it did not, and the ending developed as it did I was left satisfied. SCORE: 7

ACTING

Some of the zombies were better than others, and that is certainly a big key in fearing the mob. Of the lead four, I thought all performed well and were allowed to be real characters rather than just being ‘the woman’, ‘the hero’, ‘the slightly crazy guy’ and ‘the douche bag’. That said, none of the roles were ground breaking or Oscar worthy. SCORE: 5

WRITING

Some very nice touches in Romero’s script, with some scenarios that really allowed himself some room to play as a director. The idea of setting this movie in a mall is a stroke of brilliance, and that smart take is a reason this was the one that Hollywood chose to remake in the 21st century. SCORE: 6

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 5; WRITING: 6

6+7+5+6+0= 24

FINAL SCORE: 6

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~ by johnlink00 on October 7, 2009.

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