Dawning of the Dead Zombies, Gore, Action, Bring It!
Dawning of the Dead Film Details
Original Title: Apocalypse
Nika Braun … (segment director)
Yannis Zafeiriou … (segment director)
Alexander Zwart … (segment director)
Stuart W. Bedford … (screenplay, story)
Andy Davie … (story)
Stu Jopia … (story)
Tony Jopia … (story)
Yorgos Kasfikis … (segment) (segment “co-writer”)
Andrew McGhee … (co-writer)
Release Date: December 5th, 2017
Release Format: VOD
MPAA Rating: N/A
While a virus that causes the dead to reanimate brings the world to its knees, the scientist responsible entrusts his cataclysmic findings to Katya Nevin, a troubled ex-war correspondent turned anchor-woman at W.W News. While she and the rest of her crew witness the collapse of society via video feeds from around the globe, a deadly special agent climbs the building floor by floor, his only goal to ensure her silence. Armed only with information and an indomitable will to live, Katya must overcome her crippling anxiety and learn to lead in order to make it out of the studio and into a terrifying new world where only the dead survive.
As a zombie genre enthusiast, I’ve seen many films focused on this subject. Although this genre evolved by adopting new technologies, zombie-themed films remain stagnant in terms of presentation. Over the past years, several productions have expressed similarity with content. There is a scarcity of originality no debate about that. Filmmakers tend to hold on to standard outlines when designing these films. Despite this, each zombie-themed film has its own voice. The question is; will that particular voice be loud enough to be heard? This is the exciting part for aficionados of this genre such as myself. We continue coming back for more brain chomping terror and discover that one gem in an oversaturated market.
The zombie-themed genre much like slasher films possesses its own slate of personalities. The plot in most cases follows a group of individuals struggling to weather a calamity. Sub-plots have its own prescribed direction in which a character seeks to rejoin with a loved one.
Tony Jopia, directed and co-wrote Dawning of the Dead, the latest entrant into the zombie-themed market.
Gore and elaborate set designs are aspects that work in favor of this production. Let’s start with the practical effects. Make-up effects are a fading art considering how far CGI, its challenger, has evolved. Let’s raise an argument with that sentence. Dawning of the Dead features some amazing strong points that prove practical effects are not going anywhere soon. These visuals are a reason to watch the film.
Dawning of the Dead features a squad of background actors and one attractive contortionist. Unlike most zombie-themed films, time and commitment went into making each background actor look the part of a savage cannibal corpse. From every angle, the makeup effects looked amazing. Attention to detail was given to establish realism. In particular, the close-up shots of victims getting ripped apart by savage zombies were remarkable. Here viewers will appreciate the craftsmanship that extended into the make-up effects. Gore is the main selling point for Dawning of the Dead, the zombie-fueled violence will not disappoint.
Each scene was elaborate and communicated a story unto itself. It is amazing how these sets designs featured intricate damage and blood splatter. It would fascinate to learn about the processes that produced these visuals. Once again the team working behind the scenes created a superb visual craft.
In terms of the performance Dawning of the Dead has a neutral stance. Some performers were satisfactory in their portrayals while other members of the cast lacked definition. The acting is not a significant issue but campy dialogue and its emotionless delivery are. The sub-plot concerning a dysfunctional relationship between two brothers was dull and carried out longer than it should. None of the characters in Dawning of the Dead had that appeal for audiences to connect with. Perhaps that’s my personal callousness when watching a zombie-inspired film. In reality, for these type of narratives, most if not all the cast are disposable.
The cinematography also was a star attraction to Dawning of the Dead. I appreciated how the action-driven scenes and gore-centric deaths had sufficient degrees of angles and intimacy. For the dialogue exchanges, I wasn’t amused with the basic cut to subject A/cut to subject B camera work. A semi-circular track motion would have added creativity and a level of suspense during two-party conversations. The lighting within the television station was livelier than demanded. Coupled with the color tone the atmosphere in these interior sequences weren’t as foreboding.
Dawning of the Dead provided nothing authentic to the zombie-themed genre. Jopia’s vision was a mishmash of released material. In fact, the 2008 Big Brother/zombie series is a major influencer for this film. Parallels between the two are astonishing. The scenery, subplot, and the usual character line-up are all unmistakable. As I produced in my opening statement most films in this field share similar attributes. Yet, for Dawning of the Dead and the 2008 Big Brother/zombie series, it is more of a carbon copy with added tweaks. Obvious parallels were from Paul W.S. Anderson’s atrocious video game adaptation. The X-ray building schematic was a nice homage and efficient treatment of CGI animation.
The special effects were unsatisfactory. In fact, the film could have performed better without it. The CGI value declines at the lower end of the scale. It seems the production team wanted all that action films offer. I was expecting in anticipation for a nuclear bomb or F16’s striking the contaminated metropolis. A for effort towards the ingenious minds aiming for an action-heavy Horror film. I would have favored for minimum usage of computer graphics. Camera work and reaction to convey developing action would have been a better substitute. For example; the all too familiar shaking seen in Star Trek
Dawning of the Dead delivers with gore and amazing practical effects. The set designs and cinematography provide the infrastructure for an impressive film. Jopia delivered his distinctive expression to the zombie-themed genre. On the drawback are the CGI aspects and dialogue. The acting was rough for some cast members but overall the performances were of a satisfactory grade.