Dawn of the Dead (1979)
Wonderfully Haunting + Beautifully Depressing
Dawn of the Dead is often cited as both the best of Romero's "Dead" films and the greatest zombie film off all time. While both points are open for debate, there's no arguing that it is a wonderfully crafted film. Picking up shortly after the events of 'Night', the Zombie infestation has become a widespread epidemic.
The film opens with fast pace action before settling down as it follows our four star characters to a shopping mall, hoping to "free" themselves from the horrors that plague the outside world. Despite the many great action and zombie sequences this film has to offer I think the greatest aspect is how well it creates a sense of hopelessness and despair. The film is down right depressing at times, as we're left to watch our hero's attempting to "live" their lives. They may have "escaped," leaving the Zombies outside, but in doing so have trapped themselves in seclusion.
The gore of this film goes beyond what we saw in Night and there certainly is plenty of it. Additionally, the soundtrack does a nice job adding to the hopeless feeling of the movie. The setting is truly fantastic and Romero does a great job turning what is normally bustling with human life into a bleak and desolate prison. While the film does slow a bit at times the ending sequences are absolutely spectacular.
Dawn is most definitely a worthy sequel to 'Night' and expands on many ideas present in his original. This is much more thought provoking than your average Zombie flick. I do however wish Romero had gone with his original, bleaker, ending of the film but as it stands the film is a classic. It's a shame they don't make Zombie films like this anymore...