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A 2004 remake of the 1978 zombie classic starring Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley, and directed by Zack Snyder. The film is generally considered to be on-par with the original, despite some heavy differences.
Ana, a Milwaukee nurse, finishes a long shift at her hospital where -- along with other bits of Foreshadowing -- she discusses a patient who was bitten in a bar fight. After work, she chats briefly with a cute neighbor child, then returns to her suburban home and her waiting husband. The next morning, she wakes up to find her zombified young neighbor in her house; the girl kills her husband, who then rises a zombie and comes after Ana. Ana escapes in her car, only to learn that, overnight, the town has fallen into chaos. A living human attempts to carjack her vehicle, causing her to panic, drive off the road, crash into a tree, and knock herself unconscious. When she awakens, she meets up with a police officer by the name of Kenneth, and then a small group of survivors more-or-less led by jack-of-all-trades Michael. They all break into a nearby shopping mall, where they are confronted by a trio of mall security guards, led by the surly C.J. Via binoculars and dry-erase boards, they also "meet" gun-store owner Andy, who is stranded alone in his shop across the mall's zombie-infested parking lot. The guards are eventually disarmed, and some more survivors are let into the mall, among them teenaged Nicole.
For a while, the group wallows in the mall's materialism, and Ana and Michael edge into a romance, but due both to general stupidity (thanks Andre!) and the collapse of the power grid, the situation finally deteriorates to the point where the group decides to reinforce a pair of parking shuttles, drive to the local marina and escape out to an island on Lake Michigan. An attempt to get some food to starving Andy ends in general disaster (thanks Nicole and Steve!), and when the zombies finally break into the mall, it forces the survivors into a premature evacuation. The only ones to survive the chaotic trip to the marina are Ana, Kenneth, one of the guards, and Nicole. Setting sail, they manage to reach an island, only to be immediately attacked by a new zombie swarm; their ultimate fate is unknown.
Has the examples of:
- Action Girl: Ana
- Apocalyptic Log: Andy's video diary in the remake's DVD extras.
- Asshole Victim: Steve and Bart.
- A-Team Montage: The reinforcement of the shuttle buses.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted with the black leads in both movies; Andre dies about 2/3rd of the way through the remake.
- Bolivian Army Ending
- Boom! Headshot!: Both feature impressive shotgun-blast-to-the-head scenes.
- Break the Cutie: Nicole.
- Casanova Wannabe: Bart the security guard is a light example.
- Chainsaw Good: Brutally subverted in the breakout.
- Cosy Catastrophe
- Crazy Survivalist
- Deadpan Snarker: Steve, on top of being a Jerkass.
Kenneth: *referring to Fort Pastor* Is everyone there dead?
Steve: Well, dead-ish.
- Death by Irony: C.J. says about midway through the film, "I'll kill each and every one of you to stay alive." Guess who ends up committing a Heroic Sacrifice?
- Also, Michael was pretty dead set on killing the infected Frank before he turned. It's simultaneously ironic, impressive and heartbreaking when he reveals his own infection, says goodbye to Anna, and sets the others off in the boat before shooting himself in the head.
- Also, Andre's death eerily mirrors the conversation where he tells Kenneth that his purpose was to bring his child into the world. Err... mission accomplished?
- Death By Pragmatism: C.J. is a jerk, but his original plan to stay firmly buttoned up inside the mall was much safer. He finally executes a Heel Face Turn and goes along with a escape plan. Good idea, since the lack of power and increasing number of zombies was getting a bit big.
- Death by Sex: Steve and Monica.
- Developing Doomed Characters: Subverted. Though so,e of the characters get development, there is stil quite a lot of bloody zombie action.
- Devoured By the Horde: Bart is grabbed and swarmed by zombies.
- Distressed Damsel: Subverted by Ana.
- The Elevator From Ipanema: "I like this song!"
- Emergency Presidential Address: In the news report-style DVD Bonus Content, the ongoing media coverage temporarily switches to an announcement from the White House press office, wherein the press secretary confirms that an unknown virus is causing people to rise from the dead, the President has been moved to a secure facility, and then turns the podium over to a general who declares that martial law is in effect for the United States.
- Escape Convenient Boat
- Face Revealing Turn
- Fetus Terrible: A baby is born already zombified.
- Foreshadowing: Quite a few:
- Tucker was noted as having a gimped foot, which nips him in the bud when he falls through a manhole and breaks his leg.
- Steve taunted Ana by giving her the go-ahead to shoot him if he ever turned. She gladly obliges when he does.
- The destruction of Fort Pastor is hinted at early on, when news footage from the base clearly shows several infectees (victims sporting bite wounds and other mutilations) being brought in via truck.
- Friendly Sniper: Andy, though we only see him personally in his video log, included as a DVD extra.
- The Fundamentalist: The televangelist, who blames the zombie apocalypse on America's sinfulness (read: tolerating pre-martial sex, abortion, homosexuality and homosexual marriage). He's played by Ken Foree, and gets to utter his famous line from the original.
- The Generic Guy: Terry the security guard.
- Guns Akimbo: Tucker, after he breaks his leg in the sewer. Not like he has much of a choice, and he gets leaped upon when he has to reload.
- Heroic Sacrifice: C.J. stays behind to draw away the zombies and detonate the buses to kill a good number of them].
- Ignored Vital News Reports: Ana does this with her car radio on the way home from work. Later she and her husband miss a TV report while taking a Shower of Love.
- Improbable Aiming Skills:
- Even the untrained civilians are able to headshot running targets with amazing accuracy, often while running themselves, wounded, in the dark.
- Infernal Retaliation: Fire/explosives used against zombies several times in the movie; in one case it works because the people burning them are safely behind a fence, attacked by surprise, etc.
- Steve maintains this right up to the moment he gets zombified and has a bullet planted in his brain.
- Also C.J., until he learns trust is the foundation to any successful relationship.
- Bart, who’s biggest concern is that he won’t have sex with a woman he met at Dairy Queen and doesn’t really care that everyone he knew is dead.
- Kill'Em All
- Let Me Get This Straight...: C.J.'s classic summing-up of the shuttle-bus "escape" plan.
- The Load: Nicole
- Lyrical Dissonance: Richard Cheese's cover of Disturbed's "Down With The Sickness".
- I Love the Dead: Part of the emergency broadcast shown on the DVD showed a bunch of teenagers who had kidnapped a recently zombified hot girl from their school and tied her to a bed so they could have sex with her. Even if they weren't bitten in the process, chances are still likely they'd be infected anyway.
- The Mall
- Mauve Shirt: Tucker and Bart.
- Meaningful Background Event: Whatever's on the TV.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted with Glen.
- No Communities Were Harmed: The fictional Fort Pastor stands in for the real Fort McCoy, Wisconsin's only military base.
- Not Using the Z Word: The word "zombie" is never said.
- Not with the Safety On, You Won't:
Kenneth: You ever use one of those things?
Michael: [holding a shotgun] This is the dangerous end, right?
[Kenneth reaches over, *click*]
Kenneth: Now it is.
- One-Scene Wonder: Frank and his early death scene.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The 2004 version compared to the 70's version. The zombies in that one are capable of running and jumping, with no sign of exhaustion and very persistent. Making them a much more severe threat. The 70's version was mostly scary due to numbers. They were slow and shambling but could easily overcome the humans if they managed to corner them.
- Power of Trust: C.J. is more compelled to cooperate with the other survivors after reading some magazine articles while locked up.
"Trust. The primary ingredient in any relationship."
- Regret Eating Me
- Remake Cameo: Ken Foree (Peter from the original), Scott Reiniger (Roger) and Tom Savini (Blades) all have cameos in the remake, playing, respectively, a televangelist, a general and a sheriff who appear on the TV. Gaylen Ross (Francine) doesn't appear in the remake, but she gets one of the department stores named after her.
- Rule of Scary
- Russian Woman Suffers Most: Luda is infected, but Andre hides it from the others, denying her the chance for a mercy kill. After she dies and turns, she gives birth to a Zombaby.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Frank.
- Sanity Slippage: Andre.
- Sequel Hook: Featured, though a sequel now seems unlikely. The remake of Day of the Dead is not a sequel despite the return of Ving Rhames and it being the case for the Romero movies.
- Shout-Out: The remake contains numerous nods to the original versions of both Night and Dawn.
- The Stinger: Footage was belatedly added to the closing credits.
- Straight Gay: Glen. In the theatrical version, the only hint that he is gay is him trying on shoes during the montage of time passing in the mall, although the directors cut includes a scene where it's outright stated.
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: There are multiple instances involving the Mall's muzak.
- The first is "Don't Worry, Be Happy", which plays when the survivors enter the mall just barely escaping the undead.
- The second is "You Light Up My Life", which is played when the mall's timers power up in the morning.
- The third is "What The World Needs Now Is Love", playing when all the survivors are at the dinner table discussing their romances.
- Undead Child
- Zombie Apocalypse
- Zombie Gait: Averted with zombies who sprint when chasing their prey. Later played straight because the more decayed ones eventually slow down due to their decomposition.
- Zombie Infectee: Semi-averted. The SWAT officer, Frank, and Michael do not bother to hide their wounds, and the fat lady that came in the truck can't. Played straight with Luda.
- Wham! Line:
- Ana: “I think the bites are what spread it.”
- Andy: “Damn. Those bastards bite hard.”