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DAWN OF THE DEAD- Unrated Director's Cut

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 109 minutes, deleted scenes with optional commentary, feature commentary, The lost Tape, Special Report: Zombie Invasion, and Behind-The-Scenes featurettes


RELEASE DATE: 10-26-2004

ANALYSIS: DAWN OF THE DEAD is easily one of the most effective creepy action horror movies of 2004. The remake of the George Romero classic takes the concept from a different angle. It is more of a horror/action movie instead of the social commentary approach in the original. The movie is all about people trying to survive. The movie works at a good click. DAWN OF THE DEAD would have benefited from more character development. You know the drill. This is a movie about people being trapped in a mall surrounded by zombies. Many or all of them are expected to be killed by the end of the movie with many zombie kills on the way.

I do think Inna Korobkina is hot (she plays the pregnant Russian wife of a black guy (Mekhi Phiffer)). Inna was born in a small town in Siberia and one of those models who turn to acting. Sarah Polley still does nothing for me, but I think she would be cool to have as a friend. Ving Rhames still rocks as some kick-ass guy whether he is a good guy or a bad guy (he's a cop in this movie).

VIDEO/AUDIO: DAWN OF THE DEAD- the Unrated Director's Cut is presented in beautiful 2.35:1 anammorphic widescreen. The colors and blacks are great, and image clarity is spot on. Image detail is great.

You can hear the movie in English, French, or Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital with the option of French or Spanish subtitles (or English captions for the hard of hearing). Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Music and sound effects are good on the 5.1 track.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Almost 12 minutes of deleted scenes (not in any version of the movie) are included on the DVD (with optional commentary from director Zack Snyder). I wish the stairwell scene and the extended dinner bit was left in the movie while the rest of the scenes are little bits cut for pacing and adding nothing to the movie (the director mentions he cut some scenes for pacing and not to slow the movie down).

Then there is THE LOST TAPE that shows the last days of Andy (the guy trapped in the gun store across from the Mall) in a video journal format. SPECIAL REPORT: ZOMBIE INVASION is a twenty minute feature that is a collection of TV news clips showing how the zombie plague is spreading across the world. The newscaster is played the late Richard Biggs and Bruce Boxleitner as the voice of the US President. Not a bad featurette showing how quickly the zombie plague spreads with news footage from various cities.

The commentary for the movie is with Director Zack Snyder and Producer Eric Newman. The commentary track gives lots of insight into the production of the movie from the fictional stores they designed in a Toronto mall, the songs used as temp music and most of them ended up in the final movie, what deleted stuff is back in the movie, Ving Rhames sought them out because he wanted to be in the movie, and more.

Also some behind-the-scenes featurettes on the movie (exclusive to the Unrated Director's Cut disc) are included:

SPLITTLING HEADACHES: ANATOMY OF EXPLODING HEADS- You see how the exploding head effects in the movie were done with some behind-the-scenes footage.

ATTACK OF THE LIVING DEAD- Basically this featurette looks at how certain zombies and zombie effects were done.

RASING THE DEAD- A look at the zombie make-up being applied to people. You get to see zombie extras and learn about the three stages of zombies throughout the movie with the third stage having the most decayed look.

Rounding out the DVD are some previews (Van Helsing, Seed of Chucky, Shaun of the Dead) you can skip if you want to get to the main menu.

FINAL ANALYSIS: This DVD has loads of bonus footage with an insightful commentary track for this entertaining action/horror movie. Universal has done a good job with the DAWN OF THE DEAD- Unrated Director's Cut DVD. If you want to own the remake on DVD, this version is the one to buy and please skip the theater cut DVD.

this DVD Review (3.91) is (c)11-5-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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