Los Angeles Times - 03/19/2004
"Good zombie fun, the remake of George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD is the best proof in ages that cannibalizing old material sometimes works fiendishly well."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/26/2004
"Snyder, making a killer feature debut, trades home-made cheesiness for knowing style, revels in the sophistication of modern special effects, and stomps off with the best remake...of a horror classic in memory."
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/19/2004
"From a technical point of view, the new DAWN is slicker and more polished, and the acting is better, too."
USA Today - 03/19/2004
"Snyder comes up with some 'wow' shots....[T]his DEAD is zippier than 1995's retake on VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED."
Box Office - 05/01/2004
"[The film] still delivers a pretty mean bite as a gross-out/action shockfest."
Premiere - 11/01/2004
"[A] reasonably enjoyable shock machine thanks to state-of-the-art effects and an appealing cast..."
Rolling Stone - 11/11/2004
"It's good, thrilling fun."
Ultimate DVD - 12/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "A slick remake....Synder delivers a movie energy and vision that never dilutes the power of the original."
First-time director Zack Snyder remakes zombie master George A. Romero's classic 1978 gore-fest DAWN OF THE DEAD, wisely replicating only the basic elements of Romero's movie, instead sticking to his own vision of a world overrun by undead flesh-eating creatures. The action begins with nurse Ana (Sarah Polley) waking up to discover her boyfriend has become a tasty midnight snack for a formerly cute neighboring kid. To her horror, she realizes that the whole town is in a similar state of ghoulishness, until she runs into still-alive cop Kenneth (Ving Rhames); the levelheaded Michael (Jack Weber); and Andre (Mekhi Phifer), a rebel with a pregnant wife in tow. As in Romero's original, the group heads for the local mall where they barricade themselves inside. More survivors surface, while in the outside world the zombies go about their day by slowly taking over the planet. Undeterred by the odds against them, the survivors plot, scheme, and enjoy their mall paradise. As they plan their escape, some incredibly gruesome special effects are deployed, often with a dash of wry humor added for light relief.
Placing the messages from Romero's version--a funny, scary look at consumerist society--on the back burner, the 2004 version of DAWN OF THE DEAD instead concentrates on delivering a witty blood-fest. The zombies appear to have taken their cues from the fast-moving corpses of Danny Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER, and are generally much more agile than their 1978 counterparts. Director Snyder gets the balance between humorous set-pieces and plot development exactly right throughout, producing an enjoyable remake that can easily hold its own alongside the deservedly hailed original film.