Dawn of the Dead, George Romero's follow-up to his now-classic 1968 horror opus, Night of the Living Dead, is an incredible film, one of those movies that you like a little more each time you see it, until the day you flat-out fall in love with every single scene. It's awesome in every way, right down to the tag-line: “When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth”. Just classic.
The story follows four characters; a helicopter pilot (David Emge), a television news producer (Gaylen Ross), and two Philadelphia policemen (Ken Foree and Scott Reiniger), who steal a helicopter and head west out of the city, hoping to find a place that hasn't been overrun by the living dead. Low on fuel, they're forced to land on the roof of a suburban Pittsburgh shopping mall, which, despite the fact that it’s swarming with zombies, proves the perfect home away from home.
Dawn of the Dead is undoubtedly George Romero's best film, a movie chock full of one incredible scene after another. There's the gunfight between the Philly police and a gang of thugs that spills into the halls of a tenement building, and quickly descends into a battle against a small army of walking dead. In another early sequence, when the four main protagonists land their helicopter at a refueling facility, they find themselves face-to-face with some more zombies, one of which loses the top of its head when it climbs onto some crates and gets a bit too close to the copter's rotating blades. Then there are the various scenes in the mall when the four are gathering up supplies, usually one step ahead of their deceased cohabitants (and sometimes, it's a damn short step at that). There's plenty of blood and gore in Dawn of the Dead, and also a bit of social commentary to go along with the fun (after living in the mall for several weeks, dining nightly on gourmet meals and taking advantage of everything their new "home" has to offer, the survivors get a bit restless. Sure, the world outside is falling apart, but a life of solitary, no matter how luxurious it may be, can prove an empty existence). In short, this film has it all.
It wasn't my intention to gush like a fanboy while writing up my thoughts on Dawn of the Dead, but it simply couldn't be helped. You see, it's only been two and a half hours since I finished watching this incredible movie, and I still haven’t come down from the experience.
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