When it comes to classis zombie movies, there is no equal to George A Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead. None.
Sure, newer zombie flicks may have better special effects and production values, but they owe just about all of their greatness to this film’s pioneering vision of massive zombie invasion. The official sequel to Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead tells the familiar tale of a group of survivors during a zombie attack, but expands the scope of the story from an isolated farmhouse to cities, rural areas, and ultimately an abandoned shopping mall. The movie is bloody and gory without being gratuitous. It's intelligent without being boring. It also comments on racism, economic inequality, rampant consumerism, materialism, and the fact that bike gangs will inherit the earth.
It's not bad...it's not great either.
The film opens in a chaotic newsroom during a zombie invasion. Widespread panic has set in; everyone is shouting, people are walking off the job, and the few people that are keeping their heads are wondering how much longer they can stay on the air. Following a bloody police standoff in a zombie-infested tenement of Caribbean immigrants who refuse to evacuate, our heroes (a black cop, a white cop, a pilot, and a chick) see the writing on the wall and decide to steal a news chopper and fly the hell out of dodge, hoping to find a safe haven.
While in the sky, they see national guardsmen and groups of hillbillies picking off zombies in the countryside. This encourages them, as it seems that the zombies are easier to round up and kill in open, rural areas.
They happen upon a shopping mall, and decide to land on the roof and scavenge for supplies. Once inside, they are find themselves surrounded by all of the material possessions they could ever want. It is discovered during this time that the chick is pregnant with the pilot’s child. Seduced by the notion that they will never want for anything again, they decide to stay. However, the mall is infested with the undead, wandering through the mall like catatonic shoppers. The survivors devise a plan to block off the entrances of the mall with semi trucks to prevent more zombies from entering.
With the entrances blocked off and the zombies inside dead, the survivors relish in their newfound material glory by having nice dinners in the mall restaurant, building themselves an apartment using tools from the hardware store, and playing shitty videogame at the arcade. The white cop, who was bitten during the semi truck stunt, dies, reanimates, and is killed again.
Time passes, and the survivors are no longer amused by their possessions. Before going off the air for good, TV reports show that the zombie invasion has just about destroyed civilization. During this time of groundhog day-like drudgery, the pilot gives his pregnant girlfriend flying lessons in the helicopter. This attracts the attention of another group of survivors…leather-clad bikers. Seeing that there are survivors with an entire mall all to themselves, the gang breaks in, intending to kill our heroes in order to inhabit the mall. During this battle for the Garden of Eden, zombies make their way inside the mall and infest it once again. The pilot dies and reanimates, leading the rest of the undead to the survivors’ hidden apartment. The black cop and the chick escape in the helicopter, low on fuel and without any idea of what may lie ahead.
Make-up and special effect artist Tom Savini made his name with this movie, and for good reason. Exploding heads, edible guts, and lots of squirting neon blood make for a veritable 70’s gore-fest.
The only boobs you get to see in this movie are the chick’s, while she is sitting up in bed, looking bored and wondering what purpose there is to life. Not sexy.
The movie moves a bit slowly, but all movies were slower in the 70’s. Even with the lackluster boobs, this movie is awesome. The black cop wrecks shit throughout the movie. He also apparently knows how to conduct abortions. The white cop is pretty good, but he loses his head because he’s having too much fun running zombies over with his truck. The pilot pretty much sucks because he may be the worst shot in the history of zombie movies. The chick is pretty solid overall, and she gets bonus points because by the end of the movie, she can fly a helicopter.
Zombie defense moves:
Shotgun to the cranium (recommended)
Machete to the head
Running over with Semi Trucks
Throwing off balconies
Slicing off top of head with helicopter blades (recommended)