As much as this reviewer loved the Zac Snyder remake of "George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD," the original still holds up incredibly well almost thirty years later! ANCHOR BAY has released the horror classic several times with various versions over the years, but they've chosen to provide the original U.S. theatrical version for this blu-ray release, and it's arguably the best cut. While Snyder's version takes advantage of "opening the film up," especially during the opening credit sequence, the original revels in its low-budget environment, and works in large part because of it! Relying on confined sets, limited lighting and unknown, as well as largely inexperienced actors, the film feels real, in spite of its horrific setting. Tom Savini's gruesome bloody effects still gives all of the advances in make-up technology a run for the money.
Romero does his usual best to build a sub-text dealing with race and class structure, and it actually works to some extent. But, this is a horror film first, and the scares work surprisingly well. "DAWN OF THE DEAD" is one of those rare Romero films, wherein the viewer doesn't struggle to stay awake. The pacing is terrific.
ANCHOR BAY/STARZ has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer. While not consistently dazzling viewers with the depth of more recent films, available on blu-ray, the image to this 29 year old film, "is" amazing. There's virtually no signs of grain, and colors are rich and vibrant in scene after scene. This is a clean looking transfer, without any artifacts. Images don't consistently jump off the screen with detail, but they do here and there, and it's far and away the best presentation we've yet to find on any format available.
ANCHOR BAY/STARZ has provided a PCM 5.1 mix, Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a mono mix. Both surround mixes do kick in with great effectiveness, and the score is well complimented with the bass here. Still, the mono mix provides better balanced dialogue and dynamic range.
A great commentary and some fun featurettes are included.