2004 Certificate: 18


Before 300 and Watchmen, director Zack Snyder made his impactful debut with this splattery remake of George A Romero's zombie horror classic. Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames and Mekhi Phifer are among the ragtag bunch of strangers who find themselves under siege from fleet-footed, flesh-eating ghouls in a suburban shopping mall. While taking a less ferocious anti-consumer stance than Romero, there's more than enough guts and gore to make your gorge rise. So would you like a bag with that?


  • Zack Snyder


  • Sarah Polley

  • Ving Rhames

  • Mekhi Phifer

  • Jake Weber


Like the meaning of the Matrix or anything with Adam Sandler in it, the word "remake" is a term to be treated with suspicion by right-minded people.

Tim Burton ingenuously substituted the verb "re-imagine" for remake and we ended up with a toothless Planet of the Apes.

Producer Eric Newman opts for the verb "re-envisioning" to describe this version of George A Romero's classic of the cannabalistic undead.

He shouldn't have bothered with the crafty semantics: it's a thoroughly entertaining update except bigger gorier and shinier than the original.

Basically, a cross-section of American society hides inside a Milwaukee shopping mall while zombies maraud outside (and if you'd drunk the beer from that city you'd be pretty braindead).

There's the tough cop (Rhames) the resourceful nurse (Polley) and the father-to-be (Phifer).

Spicing up the mix is gung-ho security guard and George Michael lookalike Michael Kelly and Weber's TV salesman who is reason personified.

Unlike the 1979 original, the zombies don't lumber around randomly but have a turn of speed that put you in mind of a flesh-devouring Road Runner.

Highlights include a gun store owner across the street picking off zombies selected by the mall incumbents because of their resemblance to TV personalities.

"He's got Jay Leno...now go for Burt Reynolds," are the sort of macabre requests made of the obliging marksman.

Director Zack Snyder, whose name suggests he should be playing bass in a Darkness tribute band, handles the action with verve and there's some decent dialogue.

The inquiry "is everyone there dead?" is met with the laconic reply: "Deadish".

Perhaps we could have done without the maternity-scene-from-hell and don't for one moment expect any of Romero's social comment on mass consumerism.

As Snyder helpfully points out: "This is a kickass movie with zombies."

Tim Evans