starring Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer
screenplay by James Gunn
directed by Zack Snyder
by Walter Chaw Heretical to even suggest it, I'm sure, Zack Snyder's remake of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead surpasses the original in any number of ways. It gives the idea of consumerism run wild the short shrift that it deserves (and the cynicism that an intervening quarter-century demands), touching on the original's explanation of the zombies' affinity for the shopping mall and the human heroes' delight at their newfound material wealth before becoming a bracing action film that, like Marcus Nispel's reworking of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the source of which didn't need updating as much as Dawn arguably did), is more firmly entrenched in the James Cameron Aliens tradition than the Seventies institution of disconcerting personal horror film. There's nothing like fat on the bone of this picture (something the original can't claim), providing a canny demonstration of how comedy and satire can work without descending into slapstick (no pies in zombie faces this time around), and of how great performances and smart direction can craft a piece that honours its origins while significantly upping the effectiveness of its themes and premise.