Generally speaking, there should be more Sarah Polley. Leaving her own wonderful films aside, she brings a welcome normalcy to the films she features in. She plays actual people rather than the usual ‘ladies act like this’ 2D props found in most films. In Dawn of the Dead she acts as a stabilizing force at the film’s centre, holding together the more clichéd characters whilst showing what a realistic movie heroine looks like.
Of course, there is a great ensemble here. Jake Weber is brilliant as Michael, TV salesman and active answer to Shaun of the Dead’s (2004) titular character, whilst Michael Kelly plays security guard C.J. at just the right level to get a character arc out of the changing situation. Everyone else does exactly what they need to do with each character/actor getting their own moment.
Yeah, okay, so there’s the smart script by James Gunn and Zack Snyder’s energetic direction. The satire of consumerism might be mostly jettisoned but the trappings of home entertainment, the dulling effects of uninspiring jobs are neatly skewered and the first ten minutes alone are blank check material, but it’s the cast that make this so re-watchable.
1. I’ve always thought that if the zombie apocalypse hadn’t happened Michael and C.J. would be prime fodder for Tyler Durden’s Project Mayhem.
2. The original is pretty good. You should check it out.