So I just got back from a sneak preview of the new Dawn of the Dead and I gotta say it rawked! And don’t all you original DotD purists start your nay-saying. The two movies have enough differences to be taken independently from one another, yet enough similarities to live up to the Dawn name.
Actual good acting (for a zombie movie anyway)
People acting smartly
Great opening credits sequence that gets you caught right up with the story
Even better closing credits…the movie basically continues until the last credit rolls
All the expected characters are there
All the expected things happen to them (ok, so one “spoiler” but nothing huge)
Do I like it better than the original? Yeah, I do, but both are great! Since sneak previews are there to get word of mouth going, I say get thee to a cinema…and remember to aim for the head!
As the ending credits go on, the movie continues with click clips of video camera footage interspersed throughout that continues the story.
gobear:It depends on when you leave the theater. A lot of people left before the credits were done, but yes, it’s pretty obvious that no one actually survives by the time the ‘Visit Universal Studios’ plug comes up.
Cameos:I can’t remember all the names of the cameos but Tom Savini is easy to recognize as a sheriff being interviewed, and the two male leads from the original have cameos as a tv preacher and a military spokesman also on tv.
So somebody beat me in putting up a link to the Onion article, damnit.
I’ve got to admit, the sneak preview I saw on USA was one of the most effective first ten minutes of a movie I’ve ever seen. Whether the movie sustains the tension built up at the beginning, I guess I’ll find out on Friday.
(At the same time, I just ordered the new Divimax version of Romero’s movie.)
One of the creepiest things about the original was the fact that the zombies were truly mindless, you know? They just staggered around until they saw a live one.
True, they’d eat you alive, given the chance, but the fact is… if your wife, your kid, or loved one happened to BE one… there was that element of uncertainty. That obligatory hesitation before pulling the trigger.
In the ten-minute promo, our heroine IMMEDIATELY twigs to what’s going on when her husband suddenly “monsters out” on her. There is no discussion… no, “Honey, what’s wrong? What’s happened? Why are you acting this way?” He’s gone friggin’ berserko, and she lams right the hell out. Furthermore, he’s suddenly sprouted silvery contact lenses, to make it very clear that he AIN’T the same guy she slept with last night, honey, regardless of what aftershave he’s wearing or what it says on his driver’s license…
Scary? Sure. But a different kind of scary, I think. I can’t see feeling any sympathy, any hesitation, towards a howling, ravening, speedy person trying to bite my face off. The old zombies were better, in that respect… because they were so slow, so … empty-seeming… that by the time YOU wised up, it might well be too late.
I think this is why Hubbins winds up embracing Zombie Child in that same ten-minute promo, too. She’s just standing there, looking confused and bloody… which is what convinces Hubbins to get close enough for her to take his throat out. Would he have been so trusting if she’d come howling in like the feral THING she acts like a few seconds later?
Oh man, I can’t wait; I’m going to see it Sunday. The jillelope is a MAJOR fan (I got her an autographed photo of Romero as a gift recently), and we’re going to watch the original again tonight and then go see the new one this weekend with friends. BRAAAAAINS!
Man, it just about killed me not to read the spoiler boxes on this page.
Good point; in the Romero movie, the zombies are pitiable as much as scary. A good deal of the horror of the original comes from the idea of human beings being reduced to mindless, shambling things. There’s real pathos when Roger, dying from the infection he got when a zombie bit off a chunk of his calf, says “I’m going to try not to come back.”
But the first ten minutes looked like quite an apocalyptic vision… so I’ll be there, probably on Saturday if I can get together with my brother. (My sweet, gentle girlfriend really doesn’t go for horror films. Fortunately, I’m an evil bastard.)
Hmm. Something tells me you might have missed the first 2 minutes of the preview. The woman works in an emergency room (whether she was a doc or a nurse, I’m not as clear about) but she would be aware that having your carotid artery ripped out=fatal.
I’ve worked in an ER, too. And yes, having your carotid ripped out is fatal, but if my wife suddenly stood up and looked around, I would make the assumption she wasn’t dead.
If she then began howling and attacking me, my first thought would be, “God, she’s hysterical. I’ve got to restrain her before she bleeds to death.” If I was really on the ball, I might notice she wasn’t bleeding any more, and wonder why… but it wouldn’t occur to me to think, “Wow, she’s dead, reanimated, and gone feral.”
True, I might have twigged that some weird stuff was up when the little neighbor girl went feral… and my spouse quickly followed, after being seriously wounded. Seen lots of zombie movies, me.
I just thought she twigged mighty QUICK, is all. Then again, I guess she’s one of our protagonists. Seems like in THIS particular zombie apocalypse, if you don’t twig damn quick, you don’t get a second chance…
Interesting points about Romero’s slow zombies. There’s a lot of debate about which is better, fast or slow. The fast mover fans like the additional threat and more difficult odds for the survivors. I’m a fan of the shufflers myself. One reason is that fast moving zombies might as well be raptors or aliens, turning a zombie horror movie into “Jurassic Park” or “Aliens.” Which, if done well, isn’t a bad thing!
But the slow moving zombies provide for a different kind of horror, where you can see it coming. You have time to think about what will happen to the characters if they’re caught. They also seem much more human, and as was mentioned before, you feel a certain amount of sympathy for them. One of the more interesting thing about Romero’s zombie flicks is trying to figure out who these zombies were and maybe the circumstances of their deaths by having time to look them over. And in the end, they were all just people. You feel sorry for them.
Even the characters in the movie felt that way. Witness the look on Fran’s face as she watches a zombie sit down outside the glass door and look at her with an expression of confusion. Or when she releases the nun zombie who had her dress caught in the same door. Or the remorse that Peter and Roger feel as they clean out the basement in the brownstone at the beginning. Or the sadness all the main characters have on their faces once the mall is secured and they peer down at all the now immoble bodies.
The best example of this was when one of the main characters turned. The pain that Peter showed while comforting Roger as he died, and then while he was waiting for him to come back was evident in his character… But when the blanket over Rog’s head pulled down revealing rotting gray-green skin, I STILL find myself hoping that Rog will get up and smile and say, “It’s OK, I’m fine. I may LOOK bad, but I’m still the same guy!” Or after Stephen is killed in the elevator and staggers slowly, painfully back to the group’s hideout. He was a bit of an idiot, but he was still a likeable man, and every tortured step he took back to the refuge was both horrifying and tragic. When he finally makes it back through the last door, with his pistol dangling around his finger, and he shuts the door behind him it’s almost like he’s going to say, “Hey, don’t shoot! I’m still alive, I’m gonna make it!” And you can tell that’s exactly what Peter wants him to say too – but he knows Stephen is gone and the horribly mutilated walking corpse is all that’s left. So he has to shoot him. I just don’t think you can get moments like that out of the fast movers.
Of course, I’ve yet to see the remake, and from what I’ve seen it will stand on its own ground as a great horror movie… But for my money the slow march of the “classic” zombies is a much more terrifying experience.
Ok, I’m starting to be swayed by the slow-mover arguments. Slow can be scary too. Sure, we the audience all know that the characters can just run past the zombies, but they don’t know it. Would youwant to risk getting that close to a brain eater?
Jason and Michael Meyers were both slow movers and scary as heck too.
If it makes you feel any better, they do only seem to pick up speed once they know there’s tasty brains around. Otherwise they kinda just walk around in a daze. I think what makes these guys even more frightening is the sheer volume of 'em.
Brilliant post, absolutely brilliant observations on the original characters and their motivations. I was going to contribute the some of the same moments to support the slow-mover argument but you’ve covered them all far more eloquently than I could hope.
Note: Strict Romeroian zombies do not eat brains – at least, they don’t specifically prefer them; they’ll eat any warm flesh they can get.
The later, O’Bannon zombies tend to be quicker, smarter, and feed exclusively on living brains.
(named for the creators of the two main breeds, seen respectively in Romero’s “Night Of The Living Dead” and Dan O’Bannon’s “Return of the Living Dead,” two films which had nothing to do with each other, but featured flesh-eating animated corpses).
I’m also kind of inclined to wonder about the effects of time and weather on the newest variety of zombie.
The original Romero zombies tended to hold together fairly well… but were never too swift or precise, even at their best.
O’Bannon zombies tended to weaken somewhat, and slow down considerably, as their flesh rotted and their structural integrity began to compromise.
From the ten-minute preview, I could see where Hubbins would be pretty fast, considering he was alive at the beginning of the preview. His muscles and nervous system are fully intact and operational, very fresh (particularly considering he didn’t even have time to undergo brain death).