Original Movie Remake: Dawn of the Dead(1978 & 2004)

Welcome back everyone, to my weekly series Original Movie Remake, where I will analyze and compare the original and the remake. The goal is to compare both films and come to the conclusion, if the remake was worth it. On judging the remake, I follow my number 1 rule:

The remake must bring something new while at the same time, respecting the original.

Meaning, it must bring something fresh to the story in concept or the execution of the film.

This weeks films are the original Dawn of the Dead(1978) and the remake Dawn of the Dead(2004).

I will analyze the films in 4 categories:

Story, Characters, Directing Styles and Director

Dawn of the Dead (1978 & 2004)

dawn of the dead OMR

Dawn of the Dead(1978) Synopsis: Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Dawn of the Dead(2004) Synopsis: A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

Story

In both films, the story revolves around the same premise, where survivors seek refuge in a shopping mall. Its how the story unfolds in each film, that really separates them. In the original, Romero spends a little more time with its characters and displays an underlying theme to the film. Romero uses less characters in his film, so he was able to develop his characters better but it gives the film a much slower pace. In the remake, things move in a much faster pace. Snyder has a lot more characters so their developments are minimal and he doesn’t attach a thought-provoking theme to his film. Snyder’s story gets to the point where Romero takes time with his to flush out a deeper story.

Characters

Romero’s four main characters were well-developed throughout the film, so in turn you cared for the characters. All four characters were very different from each other but they played out in the film very well. Snyder in the other hand, may had too many characters in his film. His main characters were developed pretty well but then he adds more characters that don’t do much but serve as victims to the zombies. Along with more characters you got some annoying ones but some did serve as comic reliefs. Both films did have noble heroes but in the original Peter played by Ken Foree is the better hero thatpeople will root more for.

Directing Styles

Romero has his slow zombies and slower paced story that sometimes drags in the film. Romero does display a lot of blood and gore throughout the film. He has zombies biting chunks and ripping guts out of people. He also has human heads exploding with a shotgun blast. At times, the original becomes a little hard to watch at times. In the remake, Snyder keeps a much simpler story because his film is a much faster action packed film. His zombies are more ferocious since they can run but actually don’t get a lot of the zombie gore. There is a lot of blood in his film but you don’t have scenes where you’re just watching a zombie munch away at its victims. Both films are really different on how they are executed.

Directors

George A. Romero is considered the “Godfather” of zombie films as he is the one who pretty much started it all. He started with his first film Night of the Living Dead and followed it almost a decade later with Dawn of the Dead, which wasn’t a hit at first but overtime it became a cult classic. It is considered one of the best zombie films ever and when you think of zombies, the first thing that comes to your mind is Dawn of the Dead. Zack Snyder starts fast and hits it off with his remake of Dawn of the Dead. Going by my rule, Snyder follows it perfectly. He takes the main idea of surviving in a mall and he creates a film with his style, and uses the running zombies and throughout the film he leaves easter eggs, that pays homage to the original. This remake becomes a hit for Snyder and leads him to films like 300, Watchmen and Man of Steel.

Was the remake worth it?

The remake of Dawn of the Dead may not exceed the original but it does stand as a very good and it could stand on its own. The remake provides something new and fresh and pay its homage to the original, that should satisfy the fans of the original. Zack Snyder proves that a remake can be done properly, even if you remake a classic as such as Dawn of the Dead.

So what do you think of the original or remake?

Thanks for reading.

8 responses to “Original Movie Remake: Dawn of the Dead(1978 & 2004)

  1. The original is amazing, but the remake ain’t all that bad either. I think mainly because Snyder had a look and feel for the humor of the movie, but also the tense aspect behind it as well. Good review.

  2. The original is one of my favorite films of the horror genre, and, in my opinion, one of the genre’s best due to the complexity of themes and ideas that are presented.

    Regardless of personal tastes, when it comes to horror movies, there is no denying that the original “Dawn of the Dead” laid the foundation for the current climate of zombie mania that has invaded the pop-culture landscape in recent years.

  3. Great post! :-) Very much agree with what you’ve said. The original is one of my all-time favorite movies. Remakes piss me off! YET… This remake was actually really good. Different enough from the original to stand on its own, like you said, but doesn’t disrespect that classic.

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