By Keisha Spencer
In a vast sea of zombie based horror films, it is very difficult to make your brand-new offering involving the flesh-eating creatures attract the attention of horror addicts. This leaves Tony Jopia already at a disadvantage as his film, Dawning of the Dead, is in the shadows of films with budgets twice as big and much bigger stars. Don’t let this have you fooled though, as what it lacks in star power and money its makes up for with tenacity.
Starting off strong, the films’ opening introduces us to our main protagonist, Katya, a journalist who through a very harrowing scene we become closer to instantly, a very effective way to bond both character and audience.
The story follows Katya and boyfriend Alex – both employees of the same news organisation- along with their other colleagues trying to survive a virus that is reanimating the dead. While the two get separated, Alex is forced to make his way back to Katya while she alongside the other anchors and crew fight their way to safety from the dead.
While the film has its faults it still has the potential to be successful if it just irons out its little issues and focuses more on thorough character development, rather than needless explosions and CGI. The director favours gratuitous violence as a tool to propel the story, but given the poor CGI used in the movie it has a rather opposite effect. Less can sometimes be more.
One scene that highlights this is when the scientist responsible for the outbreak shoots himself in the head. We see him raise the gun to his mouth before the camera cuts away and we only hear a gun shot and see blood splatter on the walls. While his death isn’t on screen, when dealing with low budget special effects the ambiguity shown here leaves just enough to the audience’s imagination whilst still delivering a high impact.
With the film displaying some exceptional performances -kataya being a stand out, as actress, Ruth Galliers really makes us connect with her character, believe in her plight and root for her survival-and the solid plot its potential it’s undeniable. Following changes being made there won’t be much stopping Dawning of the Dead from seeming more like a serious contender with other zombie flicks.
So, if Zombies are your choice villains this is definitely worth a watch.