Dawn of the Dead
I don't usually review films I see on television for many reasons. The most damaging being that there are regular interruptions to the narrative throughout the film, and on UK's Freeview these are becoming far more frequent, longer and intrusive. The cuts are less elegant and thrown right into the middle of a dramatic scene often ruining tension and sometimes even losing dialogue.
I'm not even going to go into the screen cutting or picture quality issues either, issues I see on Sky, Cable and Freeview.
So with everything stacked against TV films, I'll watch them and say nothing. Yet Dawn of the Dead deserves something said about it, particulalry in its defense.
For those of you who don't recall, this is the bigger budget remake of George A. Romero's classic zombie film by none other than Zack Snyder. Who you might ask? Well if you did you aren't interested in films, for Snyder is the man who has brought 300 (Filmstalker review) to the big screen.
So how does he do remaking a film that should never have been remade? Well he actually does really well and brings quite a lot of fresh ideas to the story and the screen.
You notice from the opening that everything is looking very bold, and as the lead character, Ana, rushes around at the hospital, overworked, and returns home to relax, you realise that there's something going on in the background. There are loads of little clues from the opening moment which are great to catch.
When she does get home these clues increase and so does you awareness of there being something wrong. When the zombie strikes in the house you realise these aren't the typical slow paced monsters. These are fast, agile, deadly, and have an excellent sound to them.
As Ana escapes her home there follows a few fantastic scenes which are superbly visualised and give a new glimpse to the zombification of the world. The first shows her getting out to her car and the slow reveal of suburban life gone crazy.
The next is her journey out of the city, and here's where Snyder uses some interesting styles to give us a totally different look to an all too similar shot, a car journey. We have front and rear mounted viewpoints moving with the car, switching to the drivers view and even to an overhead shot which is quite far away and still contains a big surprise moment. This slowly zooms right into the car as seamlessley as anything, and we feel we've been taken on as much of a wild ride as Ana herself.
I loved these scenes, and while there's not much to rival these in the rest of the film, they stayed with me throughout.
The rest of the film does carry a similarly strong style and look to it. The pace is kept going, the story ticking over, and a couple of new and unusual twists are added to a very well covered genre.
The characters are good, never explored too deeply and they don't tend to have the usual flat flaws and weaknesses. There's also a great refrain from the usual end of the world romantic connections.
Snyder does try and break away from conventions yet again at the ending, and watch through the credits for some superb hand held footage that takes the story even further. This is another very strong element of the film on a par with the excellent opening.
Not only does it carry some great style and strong moments, but there are also some tense and suspense filled scenes with great sound and visual effects.
This film has certainly raised my excitement even more for what's coming from Snyder, and if Watchmen does make it to the big screen I have even more hope of it being pulled off well.
Great style, some new and exciting twists both visually and plot wise to a well filmed genre, and a great sign of things to come from this director.