'Dawn of the Dead' (1978) - Zombie Movie Review

Updated on June 7, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

Trying to imagine our world without the existence of Dawn of the Dead is an amusing exercise. The amount of gags, jokes, comics, movies and TV shows that have existed and will continue to generate into the foreseeable future because of this film is immeasurable.

In this 1978 zombie apocalypse, Dawn of the Dead focuses on four characters. There are police SWAT officers Roger DiMarco (Scott H. Reiniger) and Peter Washington (Ken Foree) along with Philadelphia TV channel employees Stephen Andrews (David Emge) and Francine Parker (Gaylen Ross). Together they take shelter in a giant shopping mall.

After securing defenses and assigning responsibilities, the four protagonists simply start living their lives, consuming products from the stores, creating routines and emulating their pre-apocalypse lives. It helps a lot that Francine is several months pregnant; humanity in this social nucleus is virtually inescapable.

After several weeks, the four survivors achieve something incredible, considering their situation: they create a stable and secure routine to the point of getting bored with all of it. They end up wondering, in borderline depression, "What have we done with our lives?”

In an early scene, Peter and Stephen discussed the zombies' tenacity in trying to enter the mall.

“They’re after the place, they don’t know why. They just remember that they wanna be in here,” says Peter.

“What the hell are they?” says Stephen.

“They’re us, that’s all”.

Yes, Dawn of the Dead is a funny festival of bloody tempera, rubber prosthesis and animal guts, with dozens of zombies with awesome grayish, amateurish makeup and a respectable amount of fire shots. But this is not really a zombie movie. This is the first film that, by using the undead genre, is openly devoted to other topics.

Dawn of the Dead is about the obsessive quest for the so-called "stability". Even with society basically ending, the routine finds its way to reassure human emotions. Here the zombie apocalypse is just an experiment in this narrative. It shows how obsessively we look for the mundane, even without social norms, viable goals or big ambitions.

Director George A. Romero was really focused on portraying us as creatures of habit swallowed by consumption patterns. It makes sense that the main location of Dawn of the Dead is a shopping mall where humans and zombies roam (sometimes in the same fashion) from shop to shop, to the rhythm of the fantastic, humorous soundtrack of Goblin and Dario Argento.

The professions of the protagonists are not trivial details either as the four characters represent the two aspects that work directly to shape social behavior: law enforcement and the media.

What's Your Rating For Dawn of the Dead (1978)?

See results

With Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero invented and fueled the zombie persona in popular culture, revolutionizing horror cinema by creating a new genre.

With Dawn of the Dead, Romero made a revolution within the revolution. He showed that black humor, social criticism, and gore spectacle can all be employed and enhanced and used within the format, creating multiple and diverse sub-genres.

And yes, he also gave us Hare Krishna Zombie. Few images have been so briefly hilarious, idiotic and full of powerful meaning.

Zombie Movie Details

Title: Dawn of the Dead

Release Year: 1978

Director(s): George A. Romero

Actors: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross a.o.

5 stars for Dawn of the Dead (1978)

© 2019 Sam Shepards


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Shepards 

      11 months ago from Europe

      Thiller is indeed a classic and I think Michael is scarier there than most zombies I've seen.

      Dawn of the Dead is probably one of the five zombie movies that are really worth watching even if you aren't a fan of the genre. Most zombie movies you can skip, but this one essential viewing.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      You know I don't do movie reviews and watch even less but I like you style of writing. I think this is an iconic movie and should be understood. Thank you

      Oh and I just turned on Thriller.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)