1. Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead thrusts us into a harrowing post-outbreak landscape, where society teeters on the brink of collapse amidst a zombie uprising. Romero’s brilliant storytelling takes us on a gripping journey as a small group of survivors seeks refuge in a shopping mall, attempting to find solace amidst the chaos and endless onslaught of the undead.
One of the film’s notable strengths lies in its sharp social commentary. Romero deftly critiques consumerism and the excesses of modern society by placing the survivors in a shopping mall, a symbol of capitalist indulgence. Through this setting, Romero forces us to confront the absurdity and emptiness of our materialistic desires in the face of impending doom.
The characters in Dawn of the Dead are diverse and well-developed, each grappling with their own personal demons as they fight for survival. Romero’s knack for creating relatable characters allows us to form emotional connections, heightening the stakes and adding emotional weight to their struggles. Ken Foree’s portrayal of Peter, a pragmatic, stoic, and resourceful survivor, stands out as a memorable performance that resonates long after the credits roll.
For my money, Dawn of the Dead may be the greatest zombie film ever made. As influential as Night of the Living Dead is, Dawn really drives home the bleakness that we create ourselves and our need to have it all, despite what costs may arise from it. The dead in the film weren’t after the people in the mall, they wanted the mall itself. Dawn stands the test of time despite certain things being rather dated in terms of visual effects and attire, but when the dead walk, are we really worried about what’s next from Dolce and Gabbana?
I was recently fortunate enough to see this on the big screen which is rare in and of itself and it only drove home more how brilliant this film is. How, as the trailer says, we have spawned our own savagery. While not readily available on streaming services or even on Blu-ray, it is available to see, and see it you must. This is quite possibly the most important horror film of all time.
Which of George A. Romero’s Living Dead movies are your favorite?