By George Rose
December 2, 2009
Welcome to Take Five, your weekly list of five random movie recommendations. Most people don't have time to watch five movies in a week. Most people don't even have five minutes to take a break and relax. Take Five is here to quicken your search for reliable entertainment (or at least movies that I deem entertaining) so you can enjoy what little free time you have. And really, who reading this article doesn't want to spend their free time watching movies? It's not like you're on a sports Web site.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Zombies were once synonymous with horror. If you heard about the undead, it was most likely a horror film and it was most likely overblown with cheap thrills and gore. In other words, it was everything you wanted from a movie. Who doesn't want to see awesome, unique death sequences in all the various situations where you might encounter zombies? There was a time when you could only find such entertainment in the horror isle, but the sub-genre has grown so popular it has been redone and mocked many times over. They're so popular they've crossed over genre (see Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland for examples). Despite their many forms, I'm glad these survival films are released. I think zombies are a more likely outcome to the end of the world than, say, asteroids or global warming. Any minute now, a lab-tested monkey is going react poorly to a new chemical. Or an asteroid with foreign toxins will infect the earth. No matter how you look at it, there are a million ways such a zombie outbreak could occur and Dawn of the Dead is one of the best ways to brush up on your survival techniques.
Before this past week, I had never seen the original Dawn of the Dead. I've seen tons of zombie movies and even the Dawn of the Dead remake, but never the original. Have I seen Night of the Living Dead? Yes, but still never its original sequel. I always just figured I saw the remake and, therefore, saw a stylized version of the original, so I'd be wasting time going back to watch a poorer quality copy of the same movie. Nope, I was wrong. By removing the modern-norm of stylizing old concepts, Dawn of the Dead is given a more gritty, raw look at the zombie story. The core-plot is essentially the same – a couple of people try to survive zombies while stuck in a mall – but the entire surrounding film is different. The characters are different, the pacing is different, the deaths are different; so much about the film is different that it's almost a shock they considered Zack Snyder's version a remake. Both are amazing in their own right, but this week I'm recommending the original because of how shockingly entertained I was. I knew an old zombie movie made by George Romero would be great, but given how much I liked the remake I went into the original with low expectations. Like most zombies, the movie will sneak up from behind and take your breath away.