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Review: Tony Jopia’s Dawning of the Dead

Nothing says Merry Christmas more than flesh-eating zombies. Wait, what? Dawning of the Dead is charging to VOD on December 5, 2017, which means you can watch all sorts of bloody goodness as you hang up your Christmas trees. But, unfortunately, Dawning of the Dead isn’t a new series installment from the late, iconic director George A. Romero. Despite the incredible movie poster, Dawning of the Dead is a completely original piece of work; although it does contain a lot of resemblances to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. It’s far from a horror-comedy parody and far from a cut-and-paste job. In actuality, Dawning of the Dead is probably one of the best zombie movies of 2017. It’s definitely Syfy original or Chiller TV late night material. So, make sure you don’t sleep on it, folks!

I don’t think it’s fair for me to label Dawning of the Dead as an independent film because this one was a production. Whole streets were blocked off while this one filmed and there’s tons of location changes, dozens of characters, hundreds of zombies, gallons of blood on participants, and action packed sequences of gun violence and explosions. Although some of the CGI, digital effects left a little to be desired, the prop and special effects department had it on lock and those teams were easily the hardest workers on set. Dawning of the Dead is relentlessly brutal and gory as Hell yet it’s beautifully filmed and visually pleasing to the viewer. I know this was a difficult and successful endeavor from a huge production crew since there were units during filming. The whole thing was directed by Tony Jopia, but the units were manned by co-directors, co-writers, co-producers, cinematographers and editors including Stu Jopia, Andy Davie, Stuart Bedford, Gwyn Hemmings, Russell McCloud, Luke Jennings, Yanis Zafeiriou, Bernadette Young, Nika Braun and Alexander Zwart.

A dramatic, original mash-up of Dawn of the Dead and World War Z, Dawning of the Dead starts the viewer off at the beginning of the end; in the first moments of the zombie apocalypse as it begins at a local news station and around the world. As society wakes up to the legion of the undead, the scientist responsible for the disaster entrusts the results of his ill-fated tests to a troubled ex-war corresponded turned anchor-woman, Katya. As she and her co-workers watch the fall of the human race from inside the news station, an assassin enters the building in hopes of silencing the scientist and anchor-woman in the off chance the zombies are stopped. Truth is deadlier than the walking dead today as Katya is forced to dodge well-aimed bullets and flesh covered teeth in this terrifying new thriller from Tony Jopia. Ruth Galliers, Leo Gregory, Andrew McHale, Fabien Buller, Kristofer Dayne, Ian Saynor, Tim Heath, Paul Lavers, Kimberly Jaraj and Linny Bushey star in this forthcoming movie from Uncork’d Entertainment that you don’t want to miss!

Mixed in with unexpected twists, buckets of gore, and a plot to destroy the world, Dawning of the Dead has the classic zombie tale of survival at its core. Relationships are tested – friends betray and scheme against each other while others stick together, and new alliances are formed during all the craziness. It’s funny to say, but Dawning of the Dead gives an accurate, realistic portrayal of people reacting to a life or death situation; so much so that I found myself oddly invested in Katya and the gang’s story. When they start to fight back, it made me smile knowing that all hope wasn’t lost. They weren’t just fighting back for themselves, they were fighting back for all of humanity. Unfortunately, the zombies are quite hungry and mobile. They’re a clever mix of Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later, so the majority of the characters are fucked and the smile I had faded rather quickly.

I know people are going to harp on this one for its comparisons to Dawn of the Dead, and I realize the marketing tools, title, and in-film homages make that possible. But, it was still an infection, ravenous good time. One of the best zombie flicks of 2017 for sure. Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Written by MGDSQUAN

(Senior Editor) MGDSQUAN