The paper “ Dawn of the Dead & 28 Days Later as the Cultural Products" is a potent example of a movie review on visual arts & film studies. Dawn of the dead (1978) and 28 Days later are two of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful Hollywood films in the last few decades. Both the movies belong to the horror genre and do great justice to the genre. This essay compares and contrasts both the movies as horror films from a cultural perspective. That is, the movies are viewed as products of culture and hence critic them from a perspective of cultural and social norms.
Both, the dawn of the dead and 28 days later, as horror films do justice to the genre. Before going further, it is necessary to understand the actual meaning of horror. Horror can be best defined as a feeling of intense pain or fear. Both movies succeed in horrifying their audience. Dawn of the dead is more horrifying than 28 days later both from the perspective of the story and graphic violence. The late ’ 70s and the early ’ 80s was the period where there were many innovations in the field of special effects make-up which is backed by new generation make-up artists (Schneider, 2004).
This was clearly seen in the movie dawn of the dead. The movie depicted extreme graphic violence wherein the mutilations and physical wounds were picturized convincingly and to perfection than ever before. The picturization of zombies in the movie is depicted in a gore manner. The violence in the movie is also intense and the director plays around with the emotions of the audience.
Director develops a bond between the lead actors and then situations are created wherein the lead actors are required to make choices to kill the other. This multiplies the horror for the audience as they now identify themselves with the character. On the other hand, 28 days later is low on visual violence. Even though the movie was made in an era with much more advanced technology, the director has not made an effort to use extreme graphics to highlight or depict horror. Instead, the director creates situations and instances where he uses emotion as a tool to translate horror into the minds of the audience.
Director has done a great job in using emotion to intensify the horror when compared to Dawn of the dead. The movie also has a positive feeling associated with it. The movie builds on human emotion and tries to convey a positive message to the audience. In doing so, the movie drops a little on the horror quotient when compared to the dawn of the dead. Even though both the movies belong to the same genre and are based on similar concepts, they both are made in different ways and use different tools to depict horror.
To conclude on the horror quotient, Dawn of the dead is more horrifying than 28 days later. The reason for this is that the former is more visually violent compared to them later. And also the former portrays negativity throughout the movie and the future of the lead characters wherein the later tries to give hope and ends on a positive note. Both the movies depict violation of various social norms like gender and other social categories.
Both the movies question the very basic social expectation of relationships. In both the movies, the lead characters are put into a dilemma of choosing between social expectations and logical thinking. Dawn of the dead raises a debate throughout the film on whether human relations are more important or logical thinking. The movie questions the traditional belief system. Both the lead actors and the audience are put into a dilemma to choose between human relations and logical thinking for the purpose of survival.
The movie conveys the message that logical thinking and survival is more important than human values and relationships. It also portrays opportunism and selfishness through the characters. Even though the lead actors are depicted in a positive way abiding by the social norms, the various other characters that are introduced in the movie do not do the same. 28 days later also addresses the same issue but instead of leaving the audience in a state of doubt, the director answers this question as the film progresses to the end.
The movie portrays that human values and relationships are more important and logical thinking must not overrule human emotions. The movie depicts both sides of the argument unlike the dawn of dead which is most one-sided. Some characters in the movie do portray negative shades like selfishness and logical thinking (against human values) but the lead actors of the movie are portrayed in a positive manner with more emphasis on human values. The lead characters abide by the various social norms and traditional belief system giving hope to the audience and ending the movie on a positive note.
But 28 days later, violates the social norms of gender. The female protagonists in the movie are depicted as dependent on male protagonists, and they are shown as helpless. Female exploitation is evident in the latter half of the movie which is not the case in Dawn of the dead. It can be concluded that both movies depict the same ideas and concepts in a different manner. One ends on a positive note while the other on a negative note without any hope.
Also, both the movies violate social norms, 28 days later depicts gender exploitation primarily. The human relationships and traditional belief system are shaken in both the movies.