Compiled by: Jack Foley
DAWN of the Dead, a remake of George Romero's 1978 cult horror,
grabbed the number one slot at the US Box Office this weekend
- knocking off Mel Gibson's The
Passion of the Christ.
The zombie holocaust movie, which opens in the UK on Friday,
sold a better-than-expected $27.3 million worth of tickets, according
to studio estimates, issued on Sunday.
The film, which cost about $26 million (14.8 million pounds)
to make, is set in a deserted shopping mall, where a small group,
led by Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames, must defend themselves from
masses of zombies, following the outbreak of a mysterious virus.
The Passion of the Christ continued to draw in the crowds, however,
taking $19.2 million, and thereby propelling its total to $295.3
million - in line with the success of The Return of the King.
Angelina Jolie's crime thriller, Taking Lives, co-starring Ethan
Hawke and Kiefer Sutherland, opened at number three, with $11.4
million - which meant that the top three movies were all R-rated
(no children under 17 without a parent or adult guardian.
US critics were also full of praise for the zombie remake, with
the majority finding plenty to enjoy.
The New York Daily News, for instance, wrote that 'the
joke isn't fresh, but it holds up well in this crackling remake
of George Romero's 1978 sequel to Night of the Living Dead'.
While the Los Angeles Times opined that it's '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
The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that 'Dawn of the Dead works
and it delivers just about what you expect when you buy your ticket'.
And the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that it's 'a surprisingly
touching parable of community and the human spirit - a terribly
scary parable with a ridiculously high body count'.
The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, wrote that 'it's
silly, witty and good-natured, not scary so much as icky, and
not horrifying or horrible but consistently amusing'.
While the Detroit News wrote that it's 'a big chomping
horror delight, Dawn of the Dead reworks director George Romeros
zombie classic with gobs of blood, buckets of black humor and
enough cocky style to induce giggles between shivers'.
The Washington Post even felt that it 'more than surpasses
But there were some negative responses, from the likes of the
New York Times, which felt that 'Mr Snyder's blood feast
is strictly by the numbers: this second-rater could be the world's
most expensive Troma film'.
And from the Boston Globe, which opined that 'few of the
original movie's political and philosophical preoccupations (abortion,
capitalism, patriotism, individualism) remain. Instead, the remake
feels like the product of the PlayStation era'.
The New York Post lamented that 'the remake adds little
to the genre and doesn't bother with character development'.
USA Today was similarly unimpressed, describing it as
'a soulless but speedy redo of George A. Romero's two-hour-plus
1979 original about a mall and flesh-eating zombies'.
But Entertainment Weekly picks up the good vibe, once
more, by noting that 'Snyder, making a killer feature debut, trades
homemade cheesiness for knowing style, revels in the sophistication
of modern special effects, and stomps off with the best remake
- er, 're-envisioning' - of a horror classic in memory'.
And Atlanta Journal-Constitution rounds off this overview,
with the comment: "Its graphic gore and brain-splattering
violence are definitely not suitable for children or anyone else
who's easily upset. If you like campy fright movies, though, this
is an unpredictably fun one, right down to the closing credits."