Zack Snyder movies sure are contentious. Not only are his fans—shall we say—uniquely vehement, but the films themselves are wildly divisive critically, alternately held up as the worst possible example of overwrought, try-hard pseudo-auteurism and as pointlessly violent, incomprehensible messes. And while the scale of his films has consistently risen over time, such that now he’s knee-deep in the morass of building a cohesive cinematic universe, all of these qualities were perfectly on display in his debut, the 2004 remake of Dawn Of The Dead.
Ryan Hollinger’s smart video essay about the film provides a good opportunity for a look back, analyzing its historical context (including George Romero’s contempt for it), stylistic oddities, and intermittent ability to produce captivating images and atmospheres. If nothing else, the video is worth watching to remember that the movie starred Doug Stamper as some sort of devil-may-care yokel. And, yeah, of course, there’s a lot wrong with the movie—listless performances, bizarre plot contrivances, pointless slow motion—but that’s sort of the point. It’s as Zack Snyder as a movie gets, for better and for worse.