Dawning of the Dead, directed by Tony Jopia, screenplay by Stuart Bedford
review by David Pitt
A virus has brought the dead back to life. Staff at a television news program are trapped inside their headquarters, and must find a way to survive as ever-growing hordes of the walking dead swarm into the building. A news anchor has come into possession of the top-secret files of the scientist who created the virus, and an agent of a shadowy organization will stop at nothing to get his hands on that information.
There’s a pretty large cast – if you’re making a zombie movie you need lots of victims– and, let’s be honest, the performances range from pretty good to magnificently awful. Ruth Galliers, as news anchor Katya Nevin, does a nice job as the reluctant heroine with a tortured past; on the other hand Leo Gregory, as the villainous Agent Proteus, is so over-the-top that he should be delivering his lines from the ceiling.
This isn’t a big-budget movie, but the filmmakers make smart use of the money they have. Zombie-attack scenes are staged in narrow corridors to make a handful of extras feel like dozens; some foreground zombies are outfitted with prosthetics and appliances, but background actors appear to be sporting generic makeup. The close-up action – the ripping of flesh, the eating of body parts, the splashing of blood – is well handled, as graphic as you want it to be without being nauseating.
The movie has a nice sense of humor about itself, too. There’s time to get to know the characters, and occasionally the characters do something we laugh at – and then we feel just ever-so-slightly uncomfortable that we’re laughing while people are getting, um, eaten. The movie knows it’s a Romero-style zombie flick, so it doesn’t try to be ground-breaking, or even especially innovative. It’s precisely what we want it to be: a good, old-fashioned eat-‘em-up with plenty of gore.