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Dawning of the Dead Review

Dawning of the Dead is a 2017 horror film about a virus that causes the dead to reanimate and the scientist responsible who entrusts his cataclysmic findings to a troubled ex-war correspondent.

It’s hard not to be cynical about the prospect of another zombie movie, the genre so overrun by the undead it’s numbing to think that studios still find any motivation to keep releasing them. And yet, release them they do, to the point of such saturation that watching one now is like drinking a glass of lukewarm tap water. Sure, it does what it intends, but not much beyond. Now comes Dawning of the Dead, a new zombie movie that rejoices in its influences, and while it does a lot considering its limited budget, does little in moving the genre forward, relying on all the standards set by those that came before it in telling another undead apocalypse.

After a terrifying opening where Katya Nevin (Ruth Galliers) is bound and tossed on the floor of some seedy basement and manages to kill her captor just moments before he rapes her, the television journalist returns to her job weeks later, burdened by the event. On her first day back, a scientist bursts into the Network building with armed secret agents chasing him, he demanding to see Katya. Seems he has a drive with some world-changing information and wants her to spread the news, while clearly his pursuers want otherwise. She escapes them with the drive and takes it upstairs, learning that something horrible has happened. Meanwhile, around the world, a deadly virus has been unleashed and is turning people everywhere into bloodthirsty zombies.

Directed by Tony Jopia (with segments by Nika BraunYannis ZafeiriouAlexander Zwart), Dawning of the Dead is actually a competently made zombie movie that does what it wants to do as well as it can, which it to say that for fans of such, this will certainly have plenty to entertain. It follows the recipe with precision, from the outbreak to the onslaught to the survivors trying to keep one step ahead to the myriad action scenes that feature every single zombie cliché you’ve ever seen. It’s like a fast food drive-through meal, entirely predictable and ultimately palatable. And like most movies in the lot of late, the word ‘zombie’ is never mentioned, with ‘infected’ the replacement, and a big cover-up at the heart of it.

To its credit, Dawning of the Dead – clearly embracing its roots – does have some decent zombies and zombie effects, with some classic gore, most practical and some CGI. For those who crave this stuff, it’s kinda fun, with lots of emphasis on stringy guts and goo. However, where the film shuffles most is in many of the performances, with few that really lend the film a greater sense of investment in the numerous characters, though Galliers is convincing. The unexplained opening would have been a story well worth telling itself. Women in power is a running theme throughout, with several female characters turning tables and she holds her own well. The script, credited to six writers, including Jopia, takes itself mostly seriously and works hard to be contemporary, and that’s a plus.

This is an action movie of course, and admittedly, Jopia handles that end best, with some good stunts and a few effective bits of chaos. I appreciate what the film is doing, homaging rather than reinventing the genre’s origins. The familiarity of it all ebbs a bit of the momentum though and ultimately keeps this from truly being anything significant. Zombie addicts however will surely get what they came for.

Dawning of the Dead releases December 5th.

Dawning of the Dead Review

Movie description: Dawning of the Dead is a 2017 horror film about a virus that causes the dead to reanimate brings the world to its knees, and the scientist responsible who entrusts his cataclysmic findings to a troubled ex-war correspondent.

Director(s): Tony Jopia

Actor(s): Ruth Galliers, Honey Holmes, Leo Gregory, Pixie Le Knot

Genre: Horror

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