Dawn of the Dead (1978) 1 brain1 brain1 brain1 brain

Alternate Titles:

Dawn of the Living Dead
Zombie: Dawn of the Dead

Second in Romero's trilogy, Dawn of the Dead is even better than the first, Night of the Living Dead. It opens at about the same point that the first movie leaves off. The dead have been walking the earth for a day or two, and although there are some organized efforts at stopping them, they are having little effect.

Despite efforts to hold itself together, society is crumbling, and a few people see the writing on the wall. A TV traffic chopper pilot and his girlfriend, another studio employee, team up with two SWAT cops and head for the hills. They land the chopper at a shopping mall to take a break and gather supplies, and end up deciding to stay.

Keeping with the tradition of the first movie, this sequel combines plenty of action with a well-written plot to keep you on the edge of your seat. For gore fans, there is a good helping of that as well, although most of it is not too extreme. The four protagonists fight to clear the mall of zombies and prevent any further access. In the midst of this, they also get to indulge themselves with all that the mall has to offer. There's a great scene where they hot-wire a floor display car and drive it around inside the mall, sealing the entrances and killing zombies.

For those familiar with the genre, this movie is known for it's message of anti-consumerism. One character notes that the zombies have come to a place that they were familiar with, indicating how obsessed they must have been with shopping during their lives. And things haven't changed much now that they're dead. They still lumber around vacuously, looking for things to consume.

The nice thing about Romero's characters is that it is not just them against the zombies; there is also conflict within the group. When they are first thrown together, they bicker and squabble and don't trust each other, and only gradually come to rely on one another. This realism makes the movie more striking than some comic-book like band of heroes going out and slaying zombies. This is definitely a movie not to miss.

Dawn of the Dead, which was released as Zombi in Italy, inspired a "sequel" by Lucio Fulci, Zombi 2, which although good in it's own right, really has no relation. A third, far inferior film, Zombi 3, followed.