With that title, cover, and images, there is no doubt about what one is
getting into when watching these films. Thus, my review is going to assume
certain familiarity or liking for the zombie horror sub-genre.
DAWN OF THE DEAD.
Overall, this has to be the finest example of a zombie horror film in
existence. Every step of the way, the director nails pretty much every element
that makes one of these films a success, every staple of the genre is placed
well and wonderfully executed. Let's go one part at a time.
The setting: Peaceville somewhere in the U.S., it starts innocently enough
with a nurse in a hospital and an off-comment about a patient having some
strange reactions to an animal bite. The genre-savvy are already hearing the
alarm bells in their head going off, but of course the characters don't. Our
heroine goes through ehr working day, gets home with her family, yadda yadda
yadda. What a wonderful life.
The morning after, it's total, complete and absolute chaos everywhere.
What happens next? If you ever, EVER, find yourself in a zombie apocalypse,
you should do EXACTLY as the characters in these fim do. Head for the nearest
mall. Always head for the nearest mall.
The reason is simple, there is a wide variety of survival tools at
one's disposal in a mall. From the point of view of the movie makers it is
simple too, it gives a closed setting where they can pull different stunts
without having to justify it. Why is there a chainsaw in the film? Outdoors
gardening centre of the mall. Food? Aplenty. Any equipment they may possibly
want the people to use against the zombies, it's possibly there. It works.
Everything from the aforementioned chainsaw (there is ALWAYS a chainsaw in a
zombie flick, always!) to the zombie-fighting vehicular contraptions, is cleanly
pulled off in this film.
The Zombies: They deserve special mention. These chaps take their job
seriously, guys. The support cast of this film is absolutely brilliant, and they
deserve serious props for their fine job. These aren't your regular
“braaaaaainssss…” zombies, oh no. These are fast, angry, vicious creatures
who do heaps to keep you on the edge of the seat. You can't give them an
opening, they'll jump at it like hungry, rabid dogs, creating a lot more tension
in situations where traditional slow zombies would not really worry you. Hats
off to them.
The Characters: As straightforward a cast as one could expect. Don't look for
Shakespearian character development here; while they aren't completely
Flanderized, the characters are very clear cut. There is some work done with
them. Of course, the director wants the audience to sympathize with the cast, so
he works on giving us a good bunch of human beings to relate to, but it's not
too deep. It doesn't need deep either.
Overall, the plot will keep you on the edge of the seat, there are enough
“no, no, dude don't do that!” moments, where you'll want to scream at the
characters in the film, it's all together a thoroughly enjoyable
LAND OF THE DEAD.
The man himself, George Romero, directs this second zombie flick you will get
in this particular set. On a personal level, I didn't enjoy it as much as Dawn
of the Dead, but one cannot really dismiss Romero's work easily. Let's go
The Setting: It's the future after the Zombie Apocalypse, and mankind is
cornered, fighting a losing attrition war against the spread of the disease.
From the surviving cities, the non-infected humans launch expeditions into
zombie territory to recover supplies and whatnot. We are treated to an even more
exaggerated zombie-fighting vehicle (which becomes central part of the plot),
and Road Warrior style explorers.
Not bad. The take for this flick is clearly a more organized
Once we are introduced to the inner workings of the city, I was reminded of
the immortal words of Obi-Wan Kenobi:
“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”
Seriously, the way of life in the city is such that it would put Mos Eisley
to shame. A few elite control the military and exploit a whole horde of poor
oppressed people who, apparently, spend their time doing drugs and gambling on
zombie fights and similar stuff. Very 1984, I have to say.
The Zombies: Okay, this is something that didn't quite jive well with me, but
as I said, I can appreciate what Romero was doing without particularly liking
it. One of the things the film sets out to do was, what would happen if the
zombies got smarter? That, on itself, is not a bad idea – specially if they
are facing more organized and better armed humans. However, one thing that the
film tries to do is paint the zombies in a sympathetic tone. Yes, the poor
I'm not kidding, this is clear from the first few minutes of the film.
While the zombies are getting smarter (thanks to a particularly self-aware
one), the zombies themselves are pretty typical. Not really fast runners, just a
big massive horde of them coming down to the city. Fear by numbers, it's a
different kind of tension but it works all right.
The Characters: Much like Dawn of the Dead, the characters are pretty
straightforward and clear cut, while still being likeable – or dislikeable.
While making the zombies sympathetic, Romero went and tried to make some of the
human characters less likeable, as I said in a Road Warrior style, with them
rushing at the zombies during their foraging expeditions with careless abandon
and almost maniacal glee at shooting and maiming the undead, and so on. Well, a
good variety never hurt anyone, and the performances are quite good. Of course,
with the big bad being Dennis Hopper – with a delightfully hammy delivery at
points – be prepared for a treat with him.
The movie is definitely a step-up in the gore department from the previous
one. Intestines and other itty bitty himan pieces will fly gleefully across the
screen (which is particularly interesting when it comes right after a “those
poor zombies” moment, you're thinking “awww por zombie” and a second later
he's ripping someone's intestines out). You always expect certain amount of
explicit violence in these films, but there are clearly different levels.
Overall, an interesting film that has enough good moments to warrant an
And finally, due to the fact that this is a double pack, with those two films
in it, and at the price it's going, this is an absolutely excellent buy for
fans of the genre and neophytes alike. If you're not particularly familiar with
the zombie horror, you can't do better than getting this two-pack and enjoying
the show. Highly recommended.