Review for Dawn of the Dead: Limited Edition
Dawn of the Dead is one of the best films ever made. Full stop. Not just in regards to zombie or horror, this is one of the best films that have ever been created.
Though it is never explained, the dead are coming back to life to feed on the bodies of the living. Stephen and Francine, accompanied by SWAT officers Roger and Peter escape in a helicopter and come to land on a shopping mall. Here they are initially safe from the mass of zombies, but this is soon ended with the arrival of a destructive biker gang who want to cause chaos, but this may mean certain death for everyone.
Nearly ten years ago I reviewed this film and loved it and this new version was such a wonderful ode to such an iconic film. The mix of comedy, horror and just out and out social commentary is just as wonderful today as it was in 1978. Every time I watch this film I spot something new or catch a zombie in the background doing something which I just love. The acting from everyone is perfect, effects by legend Tom Savini is amazing and the story itself is just brilliant.
I have often said there is nothing worse to review than a bad film filled with special features, but there is also nothing better than an excellent film brimming with them. Over four disks there are simply hours and hours of entertainment.
There are three versions of the film, the Original Theatrical Cut, Extended Cannes Cut and the Argento Cut and though i would be lying if I said I knew what the differences are between the cuts, but any excuse to watch this film three times is fine by me. Also included are multiple cast, crew and critic commentaries and so you could potentially watch this film seven times over the first three disks and I would recommend this to all fans of the film. All of the Commentaries are amazing. Personally, I preferred the ones with people who had some part of the film (such as on the first disk which featured Writer/Director George A. Romero and make up effects genius Tom Savini), but all of the commentaries are interesting to listen to and I don't need any other excuses to watch this film.
On the fourth disk is just a treasure trove of extra features and I cannot begin to say how much I loved them all. There are seven documentary/featurettes which look at almost every aspect of the making of this film. There are also two versions of the excellent Document of the Dead which again looks at the making of this film.
I was stunned by how enjoyable all of this was. Zombies and Bikers is an interview with almost anyone and everyone who appeared as a zombie in the film and every single one sounds like they enjoyed every single moment of it even if they are only on screen for a few seconds. Memories of Monroeville is a tour of the mall as it is now, with Tom Savini and a few others which was nice. All of these documentaries really dig deep into every single aspect of this film and how it was made. It was clearly a film that was made out of love and hearing people like Savini talk about how he was almost crippled multiple times trying to do stunts (not being a trained stunt man), but everyone's love for Romero meant that they would do the impossible to achieve what ended up on screen.
The Super 8 Mall Footage is a nice behind the scenes look at the film and the trailers, TV and radio spots are the typical bits to close off this set.
Unfortunately, I did not get any of the additional 'Extra Pieces' to look at, but the inclusion of three CD disks of music and two books (one an archive book and one the novelisation of the film) makes this a must-have for all fans of this film and certainly something that people should look out for.
Dawn of the Dead is such a wonderful film that could almost definitely not be made today. It needed a team of dedicated actors, production staff and a genius like George A. Romero to make something like this. It is very rare that lightning is caught in a bottle which Romero did in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead, but it is also very rare to catch lightning in a bottle twice and then turn it into a gold which he did with Dawn of the Dead.