March 22, 2004


For some reason, Josh of Cultivated Stupidity found it imperative that Cinecultist watch Dawn of the Dead this weekend, despite our well-known aversion to the horror genre. We made plans to meet at Union Square for the 4:30pm showing on Saturday but a phenomenal amount of human congestion on the subway in SoHo (since when does the platform fill up between trains so that you can't move on a weekend afternoon?), resulted in a very late Cinecultist and a very pissed off Josh. After much shoving, waiting on line and other such Manhattan annoyances, we caught up with him finally in the balcony about 25 minutes into the picture. "What happened so far?" we whispered. "There are zombies. Now they are in a mall," Josh whispered back. And strangely, that was all we really needed from those missed first act moments to understand the plot of this formulaic and disappointing re-make.

We've said this before, but Cinecultist is very susceptible to the structures of suspense in movies. The music cuts out, the character on screen drops their guard or does something stupid like opening a door that clearly has zombies on the other side and CC can't help close the eyes and cover the ears. This does not make for an enjoyable movie watching experience, feeling compelled to look away when what we are there to do is watch. Dawn of the Dead is filled with these suspense-leading-to-total-ick moments with zombie babies, hay wire chain saws and bloated old lady zombies who get fire pokers through the head. Blech, entirely unnecessary. In addition as Josh pointed out, the film doesn't have a consistent mythology which really seemed to get in his craw. What makes you a zombie, the blood or the bite? Is the super-bleak final credit denouement really possible? Shouldn't Canadian indie queen Sarah Polley being in this movie automatically make it infinitely better than it was? Basically, if the goal of the afternoon was to convert CC to a finer appreciation of the pleasure of horror films, this was not the picture to try to do it. No funny, no witty just icky -- no thanks.

Posted by karen at March 22, 2004 8:09 AM