Dawn of the Dead

Not recommended at all. Wasted potential. Okay, I apologize for seeing this movie. A buddy wanted to go see something and I had seen most everything, and I was NOT going to see Taking Lives again, no way. Here’s the thing, zombie movies tap into an underlying nightmare we often have: the whole world is against us, or society is totally insane or inhuman, and we fear being all alone against the world. I feel that way right now in our society, where wrong is right and right is wrong; where many people who look human on the outside, housewives, businessmen, neighbors, are actually monstrous zombies who have no problem with murdering millions of preborn children. We have a society full of zombies who hate their own people and defend murderous terrorists. We have a society of insane fiends who hate God and want to rip Him out of everything from government to education, and then wonder why their children are murdering and raping other children in school, the legacy of their monstrous ideas. You see my point? Zombie movies have some real moral potential in being socio-cultural statements of the inhumanity in society. The problem is that they are often just plain too grotesque in their violence to accomplish the good purpose. They show too much. They exploit. They breed their own violence. Ah for the days of The Omega Man, with Charlton Heston. Now there was a great zombie movie with a strong morality to it and not over the top grotesque detail. Dawn of the Dead is too much. Unlike another zombie movie, 28 Days Later, which I think is not quite as bad, and actually has a deep theme to it that is rather worthy. In 28 Days Later, the escaping humans find an outpost of military guys who have commandeered a mansion and have bunkered down in a way that the zombies can’t get at them. But when the military guys see the women in the hero’s company, they degenerate into monsters and want to use the women for their own sexual gratification. The hero then has to save the women from these “zombies within.” It really is a parable of how normal people, or at least macho maleness, can be as evil and inhuman and soulless as zombies. Not bad, actually. And Dawn of the Dead attempts some shallow thematic spiritual morality. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver. In the beginning, there are a couple of statements by the characters in the hysteria that this virus that is killing people and turning them all into zombies is a judgment from God. They even play the great Johnny Cash song “The Man Comes Around” about the return of Christ and Judgment Day over a montage of the virus spreading (Which doesn’t work by the way, because it doesn’t quite match in style). Someone says a statement that really doesn’t make any sense, but sounds spiritual, “When hell is full, the dead walk the earth.” What does that mean? Hell is overflowing? Why? But it’s all just shallow window dressing and is never developed. Okay, there are some characters that are selfish and survival oriented, “Survival of the fittest,” that turn into self-sacrificing heros, giving their lives to save the others. That’s good. And there is the sarcastic selfish sucker, who never changes, and he gets his doom. But I would argue that this movie is an example of a movie that exploits violence in such a way as to stain the otherwise potentially good morality in the story.