Dawn of the Dead (1979)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: One of the most compelling and entertaining zombie films ever, Dawn of the Dead perfectly blends pure horror and gore with social commentary on bourgeois society.


Movie Info

More explicit, faster paced and technically self-assured than Night of the Living Dead (1968), this second in a trilogy of horror movies tells the gruesome tale of corpses rising yet again from the grave as cannibalistic zombies, an army of the dead who will eradicate all human life unless they are stopped.

Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: George A. Romero
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 7, 2004
Runtime:
United Film Distribution Compa

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Cast


as Stephen Andrews

as Peter Washington

as Roger DeMarco

as Francine Parker

as Blades, Motorcycle R...

as Dr. Foster

as Motorcycle Raider

as Mr. Berman

as Lead Zombie

as Scientist

as Lead Zombie

as TV Commentator

as Commander

as Mr. Berman

as TV Commentator

as Young Officer on Roo...

as Old Priest

as Project Apartment Of...

as Project Apartment Of...

as Police Dock Officer

as Police Dock Officer

as Police Dock Officer

as Police Dock Officer

as Motorcycle Raider

as TV Producer (uncredi...

as Screwdriver Zombie

as Motorcycle Raider

as TV Director

as Motorcycle Raider

as Motorcycle Raider

as Motorcycle Raider

as Motorcycle Raider

as Motorcycle Raider

as Motorcycle Raider

as Motorcycle Raider

as Motorcycle Raider

as Lead Zombie

as Lead Zombie

as Lead Zombie

as Lead Zombie

as Lead Zombie
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Dawn of the Dead

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (5)

Romero's script is banal when not incoherent.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Romero's sensibility approaches the Swiftian in its wit, accuracy, excess, and profound misanthropy.

Full Review… | March 29, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Undoubtedly the zombie movie to end 'em all.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Dawn of the Dead is one of the best horror films ever made -- and, as an inescapable result, one of the most horrifying. It is gruesome, sickening, disgusting, violent, brutal and appalling.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Perhaps horror-movie buffs will consider this an improvement.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

George Romero's horrific sequel to Night Of The Living Dead finds the zombies still shuffling around Pittsburgh.

Full Review… | October 14, 2014
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Dawn of the Dead

George A. Romero's sequel to the game changing mega-hit "Night of the Living Dead," this film has the same political undertones, and also subtle ruminations in consumer culture. Unlike the original, this film only deals with the exploits of four people, who trap themselves inside a mall and live off its resources. The original was much more about the epidemic, and the terror of ghouls rampaging through the wilderness. The urban setting shows the vacancy of man-made structures without human residency, and the ease with which we as Americans consume and find pleasure in spaces such as malls. Our heroes fall back into lives of luxury and convenience, though they are faced with horrors, because they are programmed to do so, as are the zombies who return to the mall based on their baser instincts. Riveting to watch because of how massive and impressive the film is, but also for the creativity of the story, "Dawn of the Dead" is a classic zombie film that tells a very human story.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Some say this is Romero's best work. Me, well, I'm undecided. This is an excellent film though, and not just in horror circles. You can never go wrong with intelligent social commentary and satire, especially when mixed with great (albeit somewhat dated) gore effects.

Despite coming out a decade after Night of the Living Dead, this sequel treats things as if only a few days or so have passed. In that time, the zombie outbreak has become incredibly widespread. A group of survivors (a diverse lot professionally, racially, and genderwise) take refuge in a shopping mall where they barricade themselves in and kick all zombies (and others) out.

This is where the film gets interesting. The mall is a larger setting than the previous film's farmhouse, but is still a great place full of all sorts of possibilities and claustrophobia. What I find really interesting is how this film is a satire/social commentary railing against malls, consumerism, and greed, and came out at a time when shopping malls were really new to the world.

I love that this films is a brilliant blend of humor, satire, gore, and zombies. Humor is not the focus, but the levity is a necessary element that provides a unique spin on the zombie apocalypse stuff.

I can't really think of anything this film gets wrong. The direction, performances, makeup/sfx, music, and camerawork are all terrific. I did say that the effects are dated, but in a way, their garishness actually adds to the atmosphere and enhances the mood, satire, and 70s decor.

This is an essential film in multiple categories, so don't hesitate to check it out.

cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

In 1968, director George A. Romero made his directorial debut with the - now infamous - zombie horror film "Night Of The Living Dead". At the time, it was considered the ultimate gore-fest and has since spawned numerous imitations. Not many have achieved the same standard of that classic zombie movie but Romero himself released this follow-up, ten years later, in 1974 and arguably, it's as good as (if not better than) his debut.
The epidemic of zombies, who have risen from the dead and are now walking the earth, continues as four survivors of the zombie plague take refuge in a deserted shopping mall. They decide to stay longer than they thought and try to hatch a plan to escape somehow but with the arrival of a gang of militant bikers their security is compromised.
Less of a sequel and more of a remake to "Night Of The Living Dead", this film benefits from an ingenious and very memorable conceit; four people barricaded in a huge shopping mall while the undead lurk and prey outside. It allows itself to be an allegory of consumerism with a clever and highly satirical approach. It contains an occasional humorous nature but the overall terrifying premise is never compromised. Some of this humour even comes unintentionally, due to it's cheap budget and sub-par special effects - the blood used looks like vibrant, red, children's poster paint. However, the low budget only adds to the overall authentic feel and despite it bordering on the ridiculous, Romero's skill still shines through. His use of tension is excellently delivered, simply by using an extensive series of cuts. Each action sequence is edited in such a way that it is nothing less than highly skilful filmmaking and with Romero assuming both director and editor credits, he deserves the utmost respect. A more sophisticated audience may balk or snicker at the budgetary constraints and abysmal acting but really, it doesn't matter. The material is so good and handled with such skill that it overshadows any lack of worth or imperfections.
In this particular sub-genre, bad acting and bad effects would normally make for a bad movie but in this instance, that's not the case. Romero is a master of his craft and this is evidence enough to prove so. A hugely enjoyable, and one of the best, post-apocalyptic zombie flicks.

MrMarakai
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

Dawn of the Dead Quotes

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