Film: Dawn of the Dead (2004)
"When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth."
A 2004 remake of the 1978 zombie classic
starring Ving Rhames
and Sarah Polley
, and directed by Zack Snyder
. The film is generally considered to be on-par with the original, despite some heavy differences.
Ana, a Milwaukee nurse, finishes a long shift at her hospital where — along with other bits of Foreshadowing
— she discusses a patient who was bitten in a bar fight
. After work, she chats briefly with a cute neighbor child, then returns to her suburban home and her waiting husband. The next morning, she wakes up to find her zombified young neighbor in her house; the girl kills her husband, who then rises a zombie and comes after Ana. Ana escapes in her car, only to learn that, overnight, the town has fallen into chaos
. A living human attempts to carjack her vehicle, causing her to panic, drive off the road, crash into a tree, and knock herself unconscious. When she awakens, she meets up with a police officer by the name of Kenneth, and then a small group of survivors more-or-less led by jack-of-all-trades Michael. They all break into a nearby shopping mall, where they are confronted by a trio of mall security guards, led by the surly C.J. Via binoculars and dry-erase boards, they also "meet" gun-store owner Andy, who is stranded alone in his shop across the mall's zombie-infested parking lot. The guards are eventually disarmed, and some more survivors are let into the mall, among them teenaged Nicole.
For a while, the group wallows in the mall's materialism, and Ana and Michael edge into a romance, but due both to general stupidity (thanks, Andre!) and the collapse of the power grid, the situation finally deteriorates to the point where the group decides to reinforce a pair of parking shuttles, drive to the local marina and escape out to an island on Lake Michigan. An attempt to get some food to starving Andy ends in general disaster (thanks, Nicole and Steve!), and when the zombies finally break into the mall, it forces the survivors into a premature evacuation.
Provides Examples Of:
- Aborted Arc: After establishing that infected blood is the culprit in turning people into zombies, Ana is clearly seen washing infected blood off of her hands in a mall water feature. Later, Kenneth falls into this water, and the movie even makes a point of emphasising an injury to Kenneth that cuts open his arm in the infected water. Despite this, nothing further comes of this incident and Kenneth does not turn into a zombie.
- Action Girl/Action Survivor: Ana manages to get very far and kicks more zombie butt than the rest of the females in the group.
- Apocalyptic Log: Andy's video diary and the news report from the DVD extras.
- Asshole Victim: Steve for being a constant snarker to the end.
- A-Team Montage: The reinforcement of the shuttle buses.
- Badass: Most of the survivors, most notably Kenneth and CJ.
- Bathroom Break-Out: How Ana initially escapes from her zombified husband Lewis.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted, although Andre dies about 2/3rd of the way through the remake.
- Bolivian Army Ending: The survivors take Steve's yacht and leave, but the credits reveal that, as soon as they hit the island, a massive horde of zombies bear down on them - and all they've got are some shotguns.
- Boom, Headshot: Features an impressive shotgun-blast-to-the-head scene.
- Break the Cutie: Nicole, after her father dies.
- Casanova Wannabe: Bart the security guard is a light example.
- Chainsaw Good: Subverted in the breakout, where they're used to saw the legs off of zombies climbing on the buses, but the bus takes a hit, and it sends the chainsaws barreling into the other survivors. The resulting bloodspray makes the bus crash.
- Cosy Catastrophe: Like in the original, the survivors hunker down in the mall and get comfortable for a while.
- Crazy Survivalist
- Damsel in Distress: Subverted with Ana, who definitely holds her own compared to the other females.
- Deadpan Snarker: Steve, on top of being a Jerkass.
Kenneth: *referring to Fort Pastor* Is everyone there dead?
Steve: Well, dead-ish.
Kenneth: ...is everyone there dead?!
Steve: Well, they were dead... and then they got back up... and started eating each other.
- Death by Irony: C.J. says about midway through the film, "I'll kill each and every one of you to stay alive." Guess who ends up committing a Heroic Sacrifice?
- Also, Michael was pretty dead set on killing the infected Frank before he turned. It's simultaneously ironic, impressive and heartbreaking when he reveals his own infection, says goodbye to Anna, and sets the others off in the boat before shooting himself in the head.
- Also, Andre's death eerily mirrors the conversation where he tells Kenneth that his purpose was to bring his child into the world. Err... mission accomplished?
- Death by Pragmatism: C.J. is a jerk, but his original plan to stay firmly buttoned up inside the mall was much safer. He finally executes a Heel-Face Turn and goes along with a escape plan. Good idea, since the lack of power and increasing number of zombies was getting a bit big.
- Death by Sex: Luis, Monica, and Steve. Averted with Ana, who is one of the survivors.
- Demoted to Extra: Most of Monica's scenes and lines were cut or trimmed. They don't even mention her name in the final cut! Both director Zack Snyder and producer Eric Newman have lamented this, as they have nothing but praise for the way the actress portrayed the character.
- Developing Doomed Characters: Firmly averted; the zombies literally come bursting into the heroine's bedroom within ten minutes of the start of the film.
- The Elevator from Ipanema: "I like this song!"
- Emergency Presidential Address: In the news report-style DVD Bonus Content, the ongoing media coverage temporarily switches to an announcement from the White House press office, wherein the press secretary confirms that an unknown virus is causing people to rise from the dead, the President has been moved to a secure facility, and then turns the podium over to a general who declares that martial law is in effect for the United States.
- Escape Convenient Boat: The remaining survivors use Steve's yacht to escape the city.
- Face-Revealing Turn
- Fate Worse Than Death: One of the characters says that waiting for the zombies to attack would be this.
- Fetus Terrible: A baby is born already zombified.
- Foreshadowing: Quite a few:
- Tucker was noted as having a gimped foot, which nips him in the bud when he falls through a manhole and breaks his leg.
- Steve taunted Ana by giving her the go-ahead to shoot him if he ever turned. She gladly obliges when he does.
- The destruction of Fort Pastor is hinted at early on, when news footage from the base clearly shows several infectees (victims sporting bite wounds and other mutilations) being brought in via truck.
- Friendly Sniper: Andy in the film, though we only see him personally in his video log, included as a DVD extra.
- The Fundamentalist: The televangelist, who blames the zombie apocalypse on America's sinfulness (read: tolerating pre-maritial sex, abortion, homosexuality and homosexual marriage). He's played by Ken Foree, and gets to utter his famous line from the original.
- The Generic Guy: Terry the security guard.
- Guns Akimbo: Tucker, after he breaks his leg in the sewer. Not like he has much of a choice, and he gets leaped upon when he has to reload.
- Hero of Another Story: Lots, many of them seen only in news reports from deleted scenes on the DVD. Special nod goes to Sheriff Cahill and the survivalist and his crew who make an instructional video on how to kill zombies.
- Heroic Sacrifice: C.J. stays behind to draw away the zombies and detonate the buses to kill a good number of them.
- Ignored Vital News Reports: Ana does this with her car radio on the way home from work. Later she and her husband miss a TV report while taking a Shower of Love.
- Improbable Aiming Skills:
- Even the untrained civilians are able to headshot running targets with amazing accuracy, often while running themselves, wounded, in the dark.
- Although justified with Andy; he's a gun-shop owner, using a high-powered sniper rifle, shooting from a secure and elevated location.
- Infant Immortality: Majorly averted. The very first zombie we see is a little girl, and there's a zombie baby later in the movie.
- Infernal Retaliation: Fire/explosives are used against zombies several times in the movie; in one case it works because the people burning them are safely behind a fence, attacked by surprise, etc.
- Steve maintains this right up to the moment he gets zombified and has a bullet planted in his brain.
- Also C.J., until he learns trust is the foundation to any successful relationship.
- Bart and Monica also qualify.
- Just Eat Gilligan: Within ten seconds of meeting him, the audience knows that Steve is going to end up screwing everyone over and wonder why none of the characters save themselves some hassle by just shooting him or kicking him off the damn roof?
- Although it's clear by her tone that Ana definitely is tempted.
- Kill 'em All: The credits scene has a horde of zombies rush toward the final three survivors, and only one is armed. It's left ambiguous.
- Let Me Get This Straight: C.J.'s classic summing-up of the shuttle-bus "escape" plan.
- The Load: Nicole... she has no combat skills and her actions endanger the group a few times.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Richard Cheese's cover of Disturbed's "Down With The Sickness".
- I Love the Dead: Part of the emergency broadcast shown on the DVD showed a bunch of teenagers who had kidnapped a recently zombified hot girl from their school and tied her to a bed so they could have sex with her. Even if they weren't bitten in the process, chances are still likely they'd be infected anyway.
- The Mall
- Meaningful Background Event: Whatever's on the TV.
- The Medic: Ana, which is a given since she is a nurse.
- Mutual Kill: Norma is killed by Andre, but she manages to get in a few shots before dying.
- Nice Guy: Michael and Terry.
- Nobody Over Fifty Is Gay: Averted with Glen; he states his sexual orientation in the extended version.
- No Communities Were Harmed: The fictional Fort Pastor stands in for the real Fort McCoy, Wisconsin's only military base.
- Not Using the Z Word: The word "zombie" is never said, except for two instances in the news report special feature on the DVD.
- Not with the Safety on, You Won't:
Kenneth: You ever use one of those things?
Michael: [holding a shotgun] This is the dangerous end, right?
[Kenneth reaches over, *click*]
Kenneth: Now it is.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The 2004 version compared to the 70's version. The new zombies are capable of running and jumping, with no sign of exhaustion and very persistent. Making them a much more severe threat. The 70's version was mostly scary due to numbers. They were slow and shambling but could easily overcome the humans if they managed to corner them.
- Power of Trust: C.J. is more compelled to cooperate with the other survivors after reading some magazine articles while locked up.
"Trust. The primary ingredient in any relationship."
- Regret Eating Me
- Remake Cameo: Ken Foree (Peter from the original), Scott Reiniger (Roger) and Tom Savini (Blades) all have cameos in the remake, playing, respectively, a televangelist, a general and a sheriff who appear on the TV. Gaylen Ross (Francine) doesn't appear in the remake, but she gets one of the department stores named after her.
- Reusable Lighter Toss: Used when igniting the gasoline.
- Rule of Scary
- Russian Woman Suffers Most: Luda is infected, but Andre hides it from the others, denying her the chance for a mercy kill. After she dies and turns, she gives birth to a Zombaby.
- Scenery Censor: A bizarre example is present on the US Director's Cut DVD, where a scene is censored by the addition of gore to cover up nudity. CGI blood smears on the wind shield of a car were added so that they obscure the view on the breasts of a nude woman walking past the car. This is especially bizarre since the DVD in question is unrated and features at least one other topless scene, which remained uncensored.
- Sequel Hook: Featured, though a sequel now seems unlikely. The remake of Day of the Dead is not a sequel despite the return of Ving Rhames in a different role, which seems to be the case for most of the Romero movies.
- Shout-Out: Contains numerous nods to the original versions of both Night and Dawn, along with a couple of subtle references to the siege of the Alamo.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: C.J., who can barely go a sentence without saying the F word.
- The Stinger: Footage was belatedly added to the closing credits.
- Straight Gay: Glen. In the theatrical version, the only hint that he is gay is him trying on shoes during the montage of time passing in the mall, although the directors cut includes a scene where it's outright stated.
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: There are multiple instances involving the Mall's muzak.
- The first is "Don't Worry, Be Happy", which plays when the survivors enter the mall just barely escaping the undead.
- The second is "All By Myself", which plays as the survivors split up to check if the mall is secure.
- The third is "You Light Up My Life", which is played when the mall's timers power up in the morning.
- The fourth is "What The World Needs Now Is Love", playing when all the survivors are at the dinner table discussing their romances.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Nicole is so worried about her dog that she somehow hijacks a truck and crashes it into the building he's in, only to be trapped by zombies. Made even more stupid as it's even pointed out to her that the zombies are only interested in eating human flesh and we even see them completely ignore the dog! In this case it's an aversion, as Nicole lives to the end of the movie, albeit at the expense of multiple other lives.
- In the Emergency Broadcast shown on the DVD, we see some teens risk infection by tying up a zombie girl to have sex with, as well as one moron get his throat ripped out when a cage match against a zombie goes as horribly wrong as you'd expect.
- Whose bright idea was it to use chainsaws in a moving vehicle, a high speed moving one at that? Answer Yeah, it was to knock off any zombie stragglers. But there were dozens of other effective methods that would've knocked them off quickly and been less dangerous.
- The group never once thought to share crucial information about the zombies with Andy, not even when performing the risky move with the dog.
- Undead Child: What Luda gives birth to.
- Wealthy Yacht Owner: Steve is one. The survivors use his yacht to escape in the end.
- While Rome Burns: The time-passing montage, just like in the original.
- Your Head A Splode: Most zombies, but notably Andy's death.
- Zombie Apocalypse
- Zombie Gait: Averted with zombies who sprint when chasing their prey. Later played straight because the more decayed ones eventually slow down due to their decomposition.
- Zombie Infectee: Semi-averted. Michael does not bother to hide their wounds, and the two bite-victims that arrive in the truck can't. Played straight with Luda.