Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Dawn of the Dead

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong horror violence and gore, language and sexuality.

Reviewed by: Zachary Winn
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Horror
Length:
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
March 19, 2004 (wide)
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

“When there’s no more room in hell,” will the dead will walk the Earth, as this film claims?

Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

Why was Hell made? Answer

Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer

Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer

How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer

What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer


Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?

FILM VIOLence—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer


Featuring: Sarah Polley … Ana
Ving RhamesKenneth
Jake Weber … Michael
Mekhi Phifer … Andre
Ty Burrell … Steve
Michael Kelly … CJ
Kevin Zegers … Terry
Michael Barry … Bart
more »
Director: Zack Snyder
Producer: Richard P. Rubinstein, Marc Abraham, Eric Newman
Distributor: Universal Pictures

The dead rise with a taste for human flesh. A group of survivors make their way to a shopping mall where they take shelter. They include a policemen (Ving Rhames), a pregnant woman and her boyfriend, a nurse and a tradesmen.

This movie is a non-event. As a fan of the original trilogy (“Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Day of the Dead”), I had high expectations for this film. I could tell from the previews that the filmmakers decided to focus more on action and horror than in the original (the Zombies can run now), but in doing so we are left with a standard and predictable action/horror movie, lacking anything that was remarkable or interesting about the original. Most notably missing are the enjoyable, fleshed out characters and the witty social commentary. For the most part, what we now have are one dimensional, cliché players not worthy of a more thorough description.

The remake attempts to offset this by adding continuous and pervasive vulgarity (not even elegantly applied), extreme and continuous violence and gore, as well as several unnecessary examples of sex and nudity.

I find it unfortunate that the filmmakers became so wrapped up in trying to make something disturbing, disgusting and cool that they missed the entire point of the original. I recommend skipping this film.

Probable Spoilers

A father speaks of his desire to provide for and serve his child. A form of community arises, with individuals risking their lives to save one another. Friendship and loyalty. Leaders arise in a time of need, and share responsibility.

Graphic violence and gore throughout (throats torn out, heads blown apart, limbs removed via chainsaw, a head skewered with a fire poker). A Zombie woman gives birth to a Zombie baby, with blood spurting from between her legs. The Zombie baby is shot soon after (off camera).

Suicide is held out as a better alternative to becoming a Zombie. A person is left for dead, as well as several instances of what could be described as euthanasia.

A churchgoer behaves just like everyone else. A character expresses interest in faith and a belief that he is beyond forgiveness, as well as a feeling of being unworthy, but is rebuffed with a sarcastic comment from the above character. The plague of Zombies is attributed to the wrath of God by a priest on television (a cameo by Ken Foree, of the original).

Near constant profanity, including the music (taking of the Lord’s name in vain).

Several instances of nudity: people having sex, including in the shower (nothing seen), and another instance while recording (exposed breasts). A “tape” with nudity (exposed breasts) is viewed during the end credits. A man is shown trying on women’s shoes.

Violence: Extreme | Profanity: Extreme | Sex/Nudity: Heavy

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I usually like horror movies so I decided to see Dawn of the Dead, and I loved it! This version is much better than the original. There was not much language for an R-rated movie, only about twelve uses of profanity during the entire movie. I was not aware of any sex or nudity either. The violence was graphic at times but, if you’ve seen zombie horror movies you pretty much know what to expect…
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
—Greg Johnson, age 36
Positive—I was amazed by the blatant Christian message in this film. The zombies clearly represented the pre-Christian who is dead without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. I really believe that some of the gore actually served to counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor. I hope that all pastors and leaders will take note of the strong and encouraging message that is offered by this beautiful film.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—Daniel Amos, age 26
Positive—Following in the horror remake trend is “Dawn of the Dead,” a remake of the original sequel to Night of the Living Dead.” I will say this is an intense movie and one horror fans will appreciate. It is scary, fast-paced and funny. This serves for a great combination. The movie does not take itself seriously (as zombie movies should not) and delivers the scares sided with plenty of laughs to keep it balanced. The movie does take place in a mall as the original does, but does not contain the satire the original did in relation to consumerism. Nevertheless, this remake will keep your interest if you like horror films. If not, then this is not your cup of tea. While an entertaining movie, definitely not the best for Christian families and especially younger children.

Objectionable content: Off course, the concept of the dead returning to life (at least in zombie form) is not biblical. Much of the traditional objectionable content found in horror movies. Namely violence and gore. Zombies, who already appear extremely bloody, are shot, stabbed, burnt, etc… Blood is rampant in this film and will upset those with low tolerance for it. Profanity is present with numerous uses of “R” rated language. There is one completely out of place scene of sexuality complete with movement, female nudity, and sound (played for laughs, but really isn’t that funny), and several crude one-liners spread throughout the film.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/4]
—Charles, age 20
Neutral
Neutral—I just saw this movie and must admit that I was entertained. However, I was once again shocked to find several small children in the theatre! Parents be warned: this film is not for children under 18, maybe some 16 year olds can handle it, but no kids! I am a believer in Christ, but I also studied movies during my four years of college and am able to separate reality from fiction. You must know that this movie is pretty scary, that’s why I went to see it.

I didn’t go for a deep storyline of great acting, and that’s not what you’re going to get, what you will get is some great tense moments where you will genuinely feel afraid for the people on screen and afraid of what’s going to jump out at you next. This film is some of horror storytelling at its best, but as you probably know about the horror genre, it usually takes a lot of bad language and excessive violence to make it convincing. “Dawn of the Dead” is certainly not exception.

As a Christian, I cannot actually recommend this movie because some of its content will most like offend and make people uncomfortable, and I am a little embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed it. Not for the faint at heart, think: slightly toned down “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/4]
—Dallas Knowles, age 24
Neutral—This is a horror movie. So this comment is based on the assumption that this genre interests you. DOD is definitely suited only for adults, contains massive gore and even a short nude scene, having said that it really takes the zombie thing back to the old school style (Night of the Living Dead, Omega Man) and succeeds on some levels. However, I can only give a 3½ because of its reliance on shock value.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/3½]
—Amir Zal, age 22
Negative
Negative—Obviously the title will lead parents to think twice about their kids watching it. I simply went to see it because I had seen the first one. The movie is very gory and goes over board with the birth of a zombie baby. A single comment made in the movie has stuck with me: “When there is no room left in hell, the dead shall walk the earth.” Whatever!!! I’m sure the Creator has made plenty of room, and if not He’ll stuff in there like sardines. Parents: I suggest that if you don’t want your kids to see people get dismembered, people shot excessively in the head, people eating other people, a zombie having a baby, blood splattering everywhere and cussing that makes Chris Rock look look a saint. Stay clear from this one. What was I thinking???
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/2]
—Rob Shore, High Point NC, age 27
Comments from young people
Negative—As a Halloween special, two of my teachers decided to rent a horror movie for us (two classes including mine) to watch. I was expecting something “soft” such as “The Ring” or “Circles.” But no, the teacher decided to go for a movie that was supposedly PG-13. Not at all being a fan of horror or gory movies, I was very neutral about this movie and did not find it entertaining. On the other hand, it was extremely offensive.

The movie started out with extreme gore, blood everywhere and strong sexual suggestions. I thought it was pretty scary since the movie seemed to play on reality instead of creating a fictional world. Since this is the first time I’ve ever seen a horror/gore movie, I wonder if all other genre-related movies are like this.

All throughout the movie, there was intense gore (but for someone who’s played violent video games before and seen some bloody movies, there were only 2 parts of the movie where I had to turn around due to very disturbing gore scenes). In my opinion, I think that it’s OK for Christians to witness gore, violence and even swearing (though I am profoundly against it) in movies. I can’t say anything about profanity though, since I watched the french version and did not hear much swearing.

As for being scared, this movie was very creepy. Some scenes slowly added rising tension, and you just knew that something was going to happen (though often times it was just hype). There were a few scary moments that made several classmates jump and scream, but they ended quickly which is rather a relief.

All in all, this movie was completely uninteresting to me due to the facts that I am both not a fan of this type of movie and that this movie was just plain offensive. The tagline “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth,” unnecessarily included religious content into the movie. Bad idea.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/3]
—Evan Strom, age 13
Negative—I am upset that I saw this movie. It had horrible language that was making me cringe and the gore and violence was terrible. There was way to much blood and way to much cussing. There were also a few sexual things. Womans breasts, and a unneeded scene in the mall. Some of the supposedly Christians in this film were using God’s name in vain and having no faith. I wish I had left the movie theatre!! It also shows that evil will conquer the good and Jesus said he would come like a thief in the night, not send people up from hell once it is crowded. Overall, a absolutely terrible film that I would not recommend for anyone.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
—Rachel Maish, age 15
Neutral—I was so excited to see this movie because I love horror movies, and this was just as good as I hoped it would be. There were about 85 profanities and in the credits you see a woman’s breasts. If you like horror/action movies this one is great but it is not for queasy people because theres lots of gore. I didn’t mind the gore in the movie but it was the swearing and the nudity that I didn’t like.
My Ratings: [Average/4½]
—Nathan Christenson, age 13
Positive—This film has a very selective audience, the point being that most people who are offended by content shouldn’t watch it. It’s that simple. You have to have a very open mind to enjoy it at all. Because I am not offended at anything I was able to not only bear through it but enjoy it for its humor and style. ***WARNING*** there are huge amounts of blood, gore, and sex but I think if you go in and say “I am not going to be offended because it is just a movie then you will enjoy yourself…
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—james oakly, age 16
Positive—This film is not that offensive. It doesn’t have nearly as much profanity as many other R-rated films, nor as much sex. Actually, for an R-rated movie the amount of sex was extremely low. The violence was not at all disturbing, as it was incredibly over the top and… If you’re a fan of zombie movies (or action/horror in general), you will love this film. Some parts are somewhat tense/scary, others are action packed, and other parts are hilarious.
My Ratings: [Average/5]
—John Erlandson, age 16
Positive—I loved this movie. Simply put. I held it to a different standard then the original, as it seemed to be a completely fresh new story. I didn’t take to kindly to the zombies being able to run, but I accepted it. I’m a horror movie nut, and am very critical of movie. This movie passed my test with flying colors. I realize that some parts may be offensive, but only if you take it in an offensive way. Many people have forgotten that most movies, such as this one, are simply for entertainment, not to be taken seriously. The language wasn’t really all that bad, considering the situation (I’d be pretty scared, had I been in that particular situation.) This movie is definitely not for children, because of the violence and language, nudity and so on… Overall, this movie ranks in my top five,(four of which consist of the original Night of the Living Dead, Original Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and the Remake of Night of the Living dead) I suggest seeing this movie if you’re a horror fan.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Dustin Fleck, age 17
Movie Critics
…a frenetic movie that combines a video-game sensibility with cartoonish, whacked-out violence…
—Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic
…excessive blood, gruesome images and bad language…
—Alan Boyer, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem… Abhorrent… bloody violence centered around bloated, partially decayed zombies attacking and eating humans…
—Eddie Turner, Movieguide
…bright, sleek and sharp, as well as properly scary in all the right places. Of course, it’s also gory as all get-out… stupid fun.
—Margaret McGurk, The Cincinnati Enquirer
…a good pace, thought-provoking themes, humor, tension and a few genuinely horrifying moments…
—Mason Adams, The Roanoke Times