Dawn of the Dead - Unrated Director's Cut

7.31 h 49 min2004X-Ray18+
Packed with more blood, more gore, and more bone-chilling thrills, this unrated Director's Cut of the zombie thrill-ride is the version that was too terrifying to be shown in theaters!
Zack Snyder
Sarah PolleyVing RhamesJake Weber
English [CC]
Audio languages
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4.7 out of 5 stars

6762 global ratings

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Kevin DudleyReviewed in the United States on August 12, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
This review pertains to the Scream Factory collector's edition blu-ray
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Zack Snyder's 2004 remake of the landmark 1978 George Romero zombie film "Dawn of the Dead" is an example of how to do a remake correctly. Essentially it takes the basic concept of survivors during a zombie apocalypse taking refuge in a shopping mall but outside of that does its own thing. While the Dawn of the Dead remake is not as great of a film as the original, it is still well done and a lot of fun for zombie/horror fans.

Universal originally released the Dawn of the Dead remake on blu-ray back in 2008 in what was dubbed as the "unrated director's cut" adding about 10 additional minutes which turned out to be a slight misnomer due to one instance of additional nudity being blocked out strangely enough by CGI blood on a windshield. (I have also read reports that there were also some blurring effects used in some other additional scenes too supposedly.) The disc was single layer featuring the film in a VC-1 encoded transfer with a somewhat low bit rate staying in the low 20's/upper teens for the most part. Image quality was quite good at the time due to Universal did not slather the film with digital noise reduction (DNR) like they were very prone to do around that time. The only extra brought over from the DVD edition was the commentary track which made it frustratingly impossible for fans to get rid of their DVD version.

Scream Factory decided to give the film some collector's edition attention in 2017 as a 2 disc blu-ray release. Technical specs are as follows:
DISC ONE: Theatrical Version
NEW HD Master Derived From The 2K Digital Intermediate
NEW Take A Chance On Me – An Interview With Actor Ty Burrell
NEW Gunn For Hire – An Interview With Writer James Gunn
NEW Punk, Rock, & Zombie – An Interview With Actor Jake Weber
NEW Killing Time At The Mall: The Special Effects Of Dawn Of The Dead – An Interview With Special Makeup Effects Artists David Anderson And Heather Langenkamp Anderson
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Director Zach Snyder And Producer Eric Newman
Theatrical Trailer
Still Gallery

DISC TWO: Unrated Version
NEW HD Master From The 2K Digital Intermediate With HD Inserts
Audio Commentary With Director Zach Snyder And Producer Eric Newman
Splitting Headaches: Anatomy Of Exploding Heads
Attack Of The Living Dead
Raising The Dead
Andy’s Lost Tape
Special Report: Zombie Invasion
Undead And Loving It: A Mockumentary
Drawing The Dead Featurette
Storyboard Comparisons
Hidden Easter Egg

With fresh new AVC encoded 2K scans, image quality on the Scream Factory release does show some improvements in all areas though it is not at all a night and day difference. Due to the extremely stylized nature that the filmmakers used throughout, it is kind of tougher to gauge what has been improved if you do not have both the Universal and Scream Factory editions on hand such as I do to compare. One important thing is that the strange bit of nudity censorship that I mentioned above has been done away with so this is truly the uncensored director's cut on disc 2. Due to each disc now being dual layered, the bit rate has been increased around 35 mbps which gives the image more room to breathe. Detail is better, colors are more natural and better saturated, contrast and black levels improved and overall the movie looks a bit more film like overall. The HD inserts used in the unrated version blend in seamlessly.

All extras from DVD releases have been included this time out with the addition of several exclusive new extras. Fans will be thrilled at the hours of extra content to wade through with Scream Factory's edition in addition to both cuts of the film being included as well from a completionist angle.

You can also flip around the sleeve to have the original cover art as I felt the newly commission art was pretty bad and bland.

Scream Factory does exemplary work with their collector's edition of the Dawn of the Dead remake. Highly recommended and well worth upgrading from the Universal disc without question.
82 people found this helpful
QvoxReviewed in the United States on April 28, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
In my opinion this is the best zombie movie ever made.
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For the genre it gets 5 stars. I've heard fans of the low-budget original say that it lacked the "artistic metaphor" for a commercial society, that Romero's work portrayed. ....who cares. This was a better movie. It was a lot more polished than Romero's original in every way, it had a better script, better acting, better effects, better cinematography, better characters. It was more entertaining in every way possible.

I don't think there has been a better zombie movie made before or since Dawn of the Dead (2004). If you are a fan of the genre you'll love this one.
41 people found this helpful
James C GirasaReviewed in the United States on June 4, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent treatment of this well made remake
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This review is for the Blu-Ray version of the Collector's Edition of 'Dawn of the Dead' released by Shout! Factory in 2017.

*****IMPORTANT***** For anybody looking at this for the first time, this is a remake of the original movie made by George Romero in the 70's.

If you are a fan of the original, I'd suspect that you would at least like parts of this movie if not the whole thing. Like any movie that is being remade, there will be a lot of things fans of the original do not like. That is pretty much the case for any remake or adaption of a book from a much loved story.

BLU-RAY: For the theatrical version, the print is made from a new HD master derived from the digital intermediate archival negative. For the Unrated version,there is a new HD master derived from the digital intermediate archival negative with HD inserts.

I watched the unrated version. I'm not sure how the original looked but this version looks excellent. The colors are very bright. It looks as if the contrast has been turned up and some of the darker area's are hard to see. But overall I like the look.

EXTRA'S: This collector's edition is loaded with extra's and gets 5 stars for them. They are:

DISC ONE – Theatrical Version: I admit it, I didn't watch the interviews on Disc One but I watched all of the extra's on Disc Two... for a review, just look below...
• NEW Take A Chance on Me – an interview with actor Ty Burrell
• NEW Gunn for Hire – an interview with writer James Gunn
• NEW Punk, Rock & Zombie – an interview with actor Jake Weber
• NEW Killing Time at the Mall: The Special Effects of Dawn of the Dead – an interview with special makeup effects artists David Anderson and Heather Langenkamp Anderson
• Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by director Zach Snyder and producer Eric Newman
• Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery
DISC TWO – Unrated Version:
• Audio Commentary with director Zach Snyder and producer Eric Newman
• Splitting Headaches: Anatomy of Exploding Heads - This is exactly what it says it is. It is about a 5 minute documentary on how the special effects team made the exploding heads.
• Attack of the Living Dead - This featurette highlight's 6 of the most important zombies in the movie and how and why they were hired for their parts.
• Raising the Dead - A short featurette on the make up artists and the many extra's who worked in the movie. It talks about the different types of zombies as well as how many people were needed for the job.
• Andy’s Lost Tape - This is a fictional video recording made by Andy. He's the guy who was in the building across the street from the mall. He makes the tape with the premise that he's recording his thoughts for a book. This is very well done. It incorporates all the scenes involving him in the movie. He is taping over a previous tape of his wife and daughter from the year before. It lasts about 16 minutes.
• Special Report: Zombie Invasion - This was very well done. It's almost like a mini 21 minute movie. This is shot from the point of view of the viewer watching a newscast. You have a reporter who updates you and some video clips from out in the field by investigative reporters just like you would see if the zombie apocalypse was actually happening.
While watching this, I was thinking to myself that this sort of reminded me of World War Z by Max Brooks and sure enough you see some interview clips with Brooks in these extra's.
• Undead and Loving It: A Mockumentary - This is an entertaining fictional 'Making of' documentary of this movie. In it, the zombies are assumed to be real and are being hired to act in this movie. The production team complains about the needs of the zombies and the zombies complain about wanting to get better parts in movies.
• Drawing the Dead featurette
• Storyboard Comparisons
• Hidden Easter Egg

PLOT/SUMMARY: If you are purchasing this collector's edition then you have likely seen the movie. If not and you are new to this movie, I will give a very brief summary.

The zombie apocalypse hits a small city and a group of people end up taking refuge a shopping mall. Unfortunately when they get there, there are 3 mall security people who don't trust them and take their weapons and lock them up. Eventually they get loose and turn the tables on the security guards with the help of one of the security guards who takes their side. Their only communication is with a person across the street from the mall. They communicate by holding up signs. After a few days another group of people show up at the mall and join them. One of the newcomers has a boat and a plan is hatched to escape the mall and head to a hopefully deserted island.

COMMENTS: First off, I know I am nitpicking with some of my complaints. I get it....if things were logical we wouldn't have a movie. But I don't agree with that statement. I can think of lots of ways to make a zombie movie that would be logical.
-Why did they have to go and ruin the end with the scenes during the post movie credits? They should have just left well enough alone or at least let the movie have a somewhat happy ending.
-I can't believe the survivors wanted to leave the mall. I can't think of a better place to be all things considered. They have everything they need to live. In addition, there was a gun shop across the street. They had plenty of food. Granted they would run out eventually but why rush? They could have slowly picked off the zombies until they were all gone.
-I thought that the pregnant girl disappearing for all that time would have raised some suspicions..
-I didn't like how the security cop turned from being a bad guy into a good guy. His change was just too radical.
-I think the guy in the store could have basically eliminated all the zombies if he tried.

CONCLUSIONS: I think if you are a fan of the genre then you should watch this movie. I get it... if you like the George Romero's original then you might not think this one is so great. But if you look at it objectively, say... as if the original never was made, then I think that most people would say that this version is pretty good. Ultimately I was entertained, that's what this is all about, isn't it?

PLOT: 7/10 or 3 1/2 stars. I wasn't thrilled with the changes.
EXTRA'S: 10/10 or 5 stars - Everything you could want is here... and then some...
SFX: 8/10 or 4 stars. For the most part, I thought this was pretty good.
THE NEW ENDING: 2/10 or 1 star - I hated it, the credit sequence made it worse
OVERALL: 9/10 or 4 1/2 stars which I'm raising to 5 stars - Ending be damned, I was entertained.
12 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on July 4, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Captures the mood and action of George Romero's original Dawn of the Dead
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Dawn of the Dead was a really good take off of George Romero’s 1978 classic. The screenplay was done by James Gunn who would go on to Guardians of the Galaxy, its sequel, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame amongst others. He really captured the mood of Romero’s films with the initial shock of the zombie apocalypse, then the adaptation to the environment, followed by malaise and a desperate attempt to escape.

The movie does not play around with characters or background. It goes straight into the zombies. A little girl shows up at nurse Ana’s (Sarah Polley) house and bites her boyfriend who then turns into a zombie. She jumps out her bathroom window to find chaos going on outside. She then links up with Officer Hall (Ving Rhames), Michael (Jack Weber), Andrew (Mekhi Phifer) and his wife Luda (Inna Korobkina). They go to a mall where they find other survivors. This is phase one and two where the apocalypse begins and they have to figure out how to survive.

The rest of the movie is just as good fluctuating between the mundane of living in the mall to the intense such as when they have to fix the power generator in the basement. The ending doesn’t disappoint either.

There have been a lot of zombie movies made. This one stands out as one of the better ones.
One person found this helpful
Rock HoundReviewed in the United States on June 27, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Whch is More Trustworthy: A Human or a Zombie?
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The 2004 Dawn was directed by Zack Snyder from a script by James Gunn, writer of “Slither" (acc to Wikipedia.org)
I first saw the 2004 “Dawn” years ago, I thought it a pale imitation of Geo. Romero’s & Dario Argento’s efforts on the 1978 version. But, I missed the point. For me now, the point of the 2004 “Dawn” is that a living person may harm you quicker a zombie. .C.J. reads out loud the results of a survey of ingredients of a good relationship, number one being Trust. “Trust!” he exclaims, incredulous. Another cynical character speaks to the group, “It’s nice to see you all have bonded during this disaster.”
Homo sapiens have been on Earth for no more than 66,000 years. Instincts & reasoning have a long way to go. Snyder's film is a great mix of subtlety and action. Most memorable line: "Run!"
2 people found this helpful
Grimwolf1Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Poor Remake
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It took awhile for me to like this movie. I remember when the original came out and it raised a bit of controversy. I had this on DVD, then bought the Blu-Ray version that said unrated directors cut. Which turns out it's not really. This version is more like it. The only difference is, you get a bonus disk, which I admit I haven't watched yet and a few additional minutes of footage. Mainly the bus breakdown scene, where some of the CGI blood is removed to see the wandering woman's naked top half. Not much else noticeable. Bit of a let down for added footage. The acting was good. The script full of plot holes. They seemed to lose the point of the mall all together. When malls were relevant. Why didn't they just go to Andy's gun store from the get go. The writer did not do any weapons research, that's obvious. This remake is full of plot holes, too many to list as I said. If you're going to write a remake, understand the source material and do a better job. Make a good impression. The silly zombie baby was ridiculous. I know a lot of people liked this version. It does grow on one. I am glad I was able to get this version. So take it for what it's worth.
Herbert H.Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Some people hate remakes because most of the time they suck
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A very well made update of the George Romero classic. Its very fast moving and it follows essentially the same premise as the original but with different character influence. Some people hate remakes because most of the time they suck!! This doesn't however!! Excellent ,fits right in with tom savini's " night of the living dead remake " ( also a excellent remake !!! ) i enjoyed it!!
9 people found this helpful
Paul S. PersonReviewed in the United States on June 19, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Better Than Many Remakes
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As remakes go, this is not all that bad. It follows the general idea of the original without trying to actually reimagine much, if any, of it.
As a zombie flick, it works well enough. Nothing particularly memorable happens, but there is plenty of standard zombie-flick action.
The movie was well done so I don't think it's budget was constrained, but the /characters/ certainly were, being reduced to foot transport to get there and bus transport to escape. No helicopters available to them.
Still, it's not the total disaster that the remakes of /Rollerball/ or /Total Recall/ were.
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