"Some kind of instinct. Memory of what used to be. This was an important place in their lives."
- Steve Andrews (David Emge) on why the zombies are flocking to the mall
Variety - 04/18/1979
"...DAWN pummels the viewer with a series of ever-more-grisly events....Romero's strong suit is pacing and technical fluidity. His film has a keen visual sense that tersely extracts the maximum from all the bloodletting..."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/19/2004
"Fundamentally satirical, DAWN also has an essential -- but rarely remarked upon -- sadness."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2004
"Romero himself is said to prefer this tauter version, which balances its low-budget gore with a sharp satire on consumer society..."
Uncut - 12/01/2004
"[S]till highly effective, and as slyly funny as gory."
Picking up where NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD left off, and still offering no explanation of why the dead are walking the earth, DAWN OF THE DEAD plunges headlong into one of the most violent and original horror films ever made. After securing an apartment building overcome with flesh-eating zombies, two Philadelphia area SWAT team members, Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger), flee to a television station, where they escape in the station's helicopter with Francine (Gaylen Ross) and Stephen (David Emge), two station employees. Seeking refuge from the zombies and the ensuing hysteria, they land on top of a Pittsburgh area shopping mall, despite the fact that the undead seem to be flocking there. What begins as a stop for supplies becomes a longer stay as the four become embroiled in a futile war within the mall to keep their flesh to themselves and remain alive.
The film's relentlessly disturbing and innovative gore effects are one reason to see DAWN OF THE DEAD, but those who can stomach the endless barrage of blood and gnarled zombie faces will be rewarded--and possibly surprised--by what the film says about human nature and life within a consumer-based culture. Any aficionado of horror is likely to place the film high on their list of revered cinema.
Director George Romero's tongue-in-cheek sequel to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is so grotesque that it achieves a kind of comic bliss. In the modern cathedral of materialism, a shopping mall, flesh-eating zombies browse for more victims. Four horrified survivors fend off the gruesome shoppers as the mall fills with the once-living.
Black Comedy |
Cult Film |
Sci-Fi / Horror / Fantasy |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: April 10, 1979 (USA).
DAWN OF THE DEAD went into production in November 1977, with a budget of $1.5 million.
The mall sequences were filmed at the Monroeville Mall in Monroeville, PA. The tenement scenes were shot in Pittsburgh's Hill District, the area upon which the TV series HILL STREET BLUES was based.
Several versions of the film exist, as a result of the censorship policies of different countries.
The editing of the 121-minute Italian version was supervised by co-producer Dario Argento.
Director George Romero makes a cameo appearance in the television station at the beginning of the film.
Gore maestro Tom Savini appears as the leader of a biker gang who is eviscerated by zombies in the shopping mall.
Most of the 143 storeowners in the mall allowed their stores to be photographed in the film.