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Comments on Wednesday 23 June 2004:
An unusually positive movie review; Dawn of the Dead (2004).Let the spoilers begin!

The movie opens amusingly much the same as Shaun of the Dead, with hints of zombies in the background that our heroine skims over without noticing. Within the first ten minutes the movie had managed to score over 100 movie-points, which are points assigned when I mutter "X points if thing Y happens in a moment" and thing Y does happen. This scale is such that most movies score zero points - it's not "points for doing something predictable and common" but rather "points for avoiding the predictable and common behaviour". In the most impressive instance, the movie scored 50 points for the "scary music and a door slowly opening that turns out to just be a cat" not turning out to just be a cat, thus deviating from the 75-years-established established horror movie formula. Frightening indeed! A rather interesting ploy, really - that it wouldn't work at all without the horror movie formula existing to provide wrong expectations to the viewer. The movie exploits this several times, most effectively.

Given that Dawn of the Dead was properly of zombie genre, and not trying to be a comedy at all, it was somewhat surprising that the audience sharing our theatre chortled at all the same moments we did - entirely non-comedy moments such as "fat zombie gets spike stuck through head".

It was a bit surprising and slightly disappointing that the zombies were more 28 Days Later style than proper moan-groan-mumble-stumble zombies, but that was compensated for by having them be slightly stupider than your average moan-groan-mumblers. On a par with computer game AI from the 80s. I suppose this change had to be made, anyway, since without it there would be very little to separate the plot from that of the original Dawn of the Dead. It also makes the siege a bit more plausible; that the original Dawners were able to go out and wander around all they wanted - so long as they took a baseball bat and moved vaguely quickly - is very much not the case now.

The characters are appropriately flat for a zombie movie, most of them easily summarised in two words or less; cop, redneck, generalist, competent woman, pregnant woman, sarcastic man, and so forth.

It's nice that you get a different ending if you sit through the credits than if you don't. The pre-credits ending is the Hollywood ending, while the during-credits ending is more what you'd expect from a British-made zomborama.

I can think of pretty much nothing that could be done to make a Dawn of the Dead remake better than this.

Bubba Ho-tep, on the other hand, is rubbish. [09:57]
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