|Directed by:||George A. Romero|
|Written by:||George A. Romero|
|Cast:||David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford|
|Studio:||United Film Distribution Company (UFDC)|
Its hard to imagine a director having to follow up a film like Night of the Living Dead with a sequel after nearly a 10 year gap between films. Its even harder to find an example in which the end result comes out better than the original film. That's right, Dawn is my favorite, and in my opinion the best horror film ever made. Not best sequel, not best zombie film, BEST HORROR FILM OF ALL TIME PERIOD
Given the guerilla direction of the first film, Romero's sprawling zombie sequel is very impressive. He handles the enlarged budget and audience incredibly well by enlarging the scope of his film's themes, producing an incredible political satire in the process.
The shopping mall setting captures the capitalistic essence and greed of humanity to a tee. I'd say that the mall is the strongest character in the film, but that only belittles how incredible the film's four stars are. Not only are they as well written as the characters of Night of the Living Dead, but now they're as competently acted as well.
The relationship between Peter and Roger gives the film this buddy comedy quality that it may not have had lesser actors taken on the roles. We've seen people shot in dozens of films before, but I don't think I can recall one that packs as much emotional turmoil as when Roger rises from the dead.
And David Emge as Stephen just steals the show. He tends to just blend in for the film's opening, but once the finale kicks into gear and Stephen starts to go into panic mode- he delivers an oscar worthy performance. The terror and pain he displays as a gang of zombies blasts through the doors of an elevator and rip him from the ceiling is one of the most horrifying scenes ever put to film. And its not the scene is all that cringeworthy, but Emge's reaction to it all is so convincing that it just kills you to see him torn from his near escape. But if that isn't enough, his last moments as a zombie are just unbelievably well done. Best performance as a zombie ever. Bar none. People say there can never be anyone that plays Fred Krueger like Robert Englund and I make the same statement about zombies with David Emge. Its incredible.
The story and acting aren't the only thing taken up a notch in the sprawling horror epic, so is gore. With Tom Savini on board we get all kinds of gruesome feasts, the centerpiece being when the biker gang is devoured inside the mall. There are so many scenes there that are so well done, its hard to imagine anyone matching these kind of brutally realistic effects.
This is Romero's masterpiece of social commentary and zombie horror. Its the Godfather of horror films and shouldn't be passed over by anyone because of some of the dated '70s clothing or blue zombie make up. Its whats on the inside that counts. And Romero spills it onto the floor for all to feast upon.