Dawn Of The Dead (1979)

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A disparate group of survivors of a zombie holocaust hole up in an abandoned shopping mall that becomes besieged by an ever-growing horde of the dead.

The performances may not be of the highest calibre and dated as some of the effects may be, Dawn Of The Dead is still the zombie movie. George A. Romero’s zombies are of the “true” kind in that their mindless shuffling gait reminds us of our mortality and the inevitability of our own demise; a modern memento mori of eventual decay as well as the animal instinct within that we try so hard to mask with a civilisation that could so easily crumble into chaos. It may not have the visceral impact of Night Of The Living Dead, but the sly social commentary on consumerism and greed combined with humour and observations on the human condition make for one of the most influential horror films ever made. It’s no small irony that our heroes soon despair at their “paradise” that seems to offer everything they’ve ever wanted at the expense of any real human contact or purpose, and their downfall is caused not by the walking corpses themselves but rather the very human traits of selfishness and greed.

The rather cheap looking photography detracts a little – I personally think that the first film is still the best looking of the series – but the sheer weight of the concept and its brilliant ideas more than make up for any technical weaknesses. A true classic.

9.5/10

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