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Another Portland Blog

Monday, March 22, 2004

 

Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!

I have seen the zombies. And they are good. Oh yes, they are good.

I saw the "Dawn of the Dead' remake on Friday. While it may have been hacked out of the same laptop as "Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" it is, that's right, good.

Does this new "Dead" live up to its 1978 predecessor? No, not really. As everyone knows, that's the Greatest Horror Movie of All Time. If I'm not mistaken, there's a bit in the 26th amendment that requires all American citizens to view the movie before their 18th birthday.

Now I love me some zombies. And if there's anything better than zombies, it's zombies in shopping malls. By default, the new "Dawn," no matter how bad, would have scored at least a 8 out 10 in my book. The new version is humorless and doesn't bother to reincorporate George A. Romero's subversive themes. No zombi-fied consumers wander up down escalators or go ice skating. Does this matter? Naw.

This new "Dawn" isn't the most violent or gory I've seen but it's among the most intense. "Natural Born Killers" and "Aliens" both spring to mind but even they can't touch the cinematic barrel rolls of this lil' zombie flick. It's 115 of mayhem, kicked off by a frantic drive through an apocalyptic suburban neighborhood. The films final act is filled with frantic jump cuts, two second shots and looks like it was slapped down on rotting '70s filmstock.

My only complaint is that the film is dire need of more "quiet" moments, especially given the fact the screenwriter managed to cough up a few intriguing characters. Ving Rhames plays a bitter cop who forms an unlikely friendship with a man stuck on a roof across a parking lot overlowing with the undead. The play chess and exchange messages on eraser boards. The two of them are allowed around two minutes of screentime. The cast is given a quick thirty second sequence to enjoy their luxurious hideaway before they movie segways back into more violence.

But this isn't a movie in search of a best acting nom, it's a friggin' zombie flick. And with that, it delivers the goods. There's an adorable baby zombie, an obese hick zombie, even a Jay Leno zombie. The film's final twenty minutes is a bullet that doesn't stop for the credits. "Dawn" keeps going until the absolute last frame.

This is the finest horror film I've seen in many a year. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm overlooking "28 Days Later" and "The Ring." *Yawn* After a rousing first hour, that British zombie debacle completely collapsed in the third act. "The Ring" was filled with inappropriate, Tim Burton imagery (the bedroom in the barn? Come on.) and the film's final ten minutes were tepid in comparison to the Japanese original.

OK, with that of the way, here's a link to brains4zombies.com. It's an Amazon parody offering such products as Eddie Vedder's brain. It's selling for a mere $5.39.

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