How Well Do You Remember "Dawn of the Dead"?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

"When my living dead walk, you'd better run!" said the director of this horror remake with fast-moving zombies and a stellar cast. Now, test your survival skills with our "Dawn of the Dead" quiz!

In what US state is "Dawn of the Dead" set?

Unlike other films that are fairly coy about the setting, "Dawn" puts it up front. A radio announcer makes it clear that he is broadcasting information for the "greater Milwaukee area," and goes on to list outlying Wisconsin counties.

Who played Ana, the (more or less) main character?

Polley might have been paying the bills with this big-budget film. She's better known for thoughtful independent films, including the documentary she made about her family, "Stories We Tell."

What does Ana do for a living?

The movie starts with Ana at her job. The zombie outbreak is foreshadowed when she's a bit perplexed at why a patient has been admitted to the ICU for a bite.

Who is the first character we see die and re-animate?

Luis is attacked by Vivian, whose death we do not see. Luis's re-animation is almost immediate, a change from the slower process in the earlier "Dead" films. It also seems to make him more athletic: for a guy in mediocre shape in life, Luis runs after Ana's car in a high-speed, arm-pumping style reminiscent of Robert Patrick's terminator in "Terminator 2."

Why does Ana have to join Kenneth and his band of survivors?

Ana's car wreck seems like a homage to the one in "Night of the Living Dead" (the remake, at least) in which Barbara crashes her car into a tree in her first attempt to escape the zombies. Ana is briefly knocked out, and is lucky the living dead don't find her in that condition.

Who played Kenneth, the no-nonsense cop?

Rhames is the first person Ana really meets after crashing her car. He's part of a group of four survivors who have decided to head to a shopping mall for refuge.

Who played kind and levelheaded Michael?

Weber was cast "within type" as the decent guy who keeps the survivors calm and working together. To see Weber in a rare cast-against-type role, try "The Warrior Class," a straight-to-DVD drama in which he plays an organized-crime boss.

Which "ER" star had a role as a man desperate to protect his wife and unborn child?

Phifer arrives at the mall with his pregnant wife, Luda. She is scratched by a zombie in an early confrontation, and that's how a lot of things get started in zombie movies.

What is the name of the mall to which the survivors go?

A mall was also the setting of the original film. It was considered a commentary on materialism, the same way "Night of the Living Dead" had strong racial themes.

What does Michael arm himself with before opening the closet?

At first, the choice of a croquet mallet seems to underscore his apparent "mild-mannered white guy" character, especially compared to Ving Rhames's and Mekhi Phifer's characters, who both have guns. That will be debunked a minute or two later, when Michael grabs the broken mallet handle and jams it through a zombie's head, from jaw to crown. Ouch!

When the band of five goes upstairs, what greets them as soon as the elevator doors open?

While Zack Snyder's film might not have had the social commentary of Romero's movies, the macho, power-tripping security guards were a genuinely scary take on how quickly civilization can break down. The guards disarm the survivors and treat them like prisoners and slave labor. The turning point comes when one of the guards makes a veiled sexual threat towards Ana, at which point Michael and Kenneth disarm them and turn the tables.

Who drives the truck in which the last and largest group of survivors comes to the mall?

Norma, played by Jayne Eastwood, is both competent and good-hearted. She readily offers her truck to Kenneth, who is eager to get to Fort Pastor and find out if his brother is still alive.

Who played snarky, unpleasant survivor Steve Marcus?

Steve, who likes to drink, have sex and throw cold water on the other survivors's plans, is a far cry from Burrell's "cool dad" role on "Modern Family." Alert TV viewers will also have seen Burrell in a series of detergent ads.

Whose idea is it to shoot Frank, the survivor who was bitten?

Frank was played by Matt Frewer, a veteran character actor who was once the voice of "Max Headroom." He has also played Sherlock Holmes, which puts him in some excellent company, despite a small role here.

What is the name of the gun-shop owner?

It's an innocent-sounding name for a deadly marksman. Andy and his gun shop will become central, later, to the group's plan to escape the mall.

How do Kenneth and Andy communicate across rooftops?

Andy and Frank forge a bond, starting when Frank writes "Fort Pastor down, no help coming" and Andy responds, "So what's the bad news?" (You gotta keep a sense of humor).

Romance springs up between which of the following characters?

Of course, "romance" is an inexact term here. Steve and Monica are just hooking up, while Ana and Michael's attraction is somewhat subdued, given that she's a recent widow. Only the security guard, Terry, and Nicole are really experiencing young love.

What secret is Andre hiding from the rest of the group?

Luda is scratched during an early clash with a zombie inside the mall. Later, she and Andre sequester themselves in a baby-and-toddler store, and Andre brushes aside offers of help -- because he doesn't want anyone to see how sick Luda is.

What happens to Andre and Luda's baby?

Luda dies of her infection during labor, then is re-animated, at which point the baby is born. When the truck driver, Norma, goes to check on them, she discovers the secret.

How does Andre die?

When Norma finds out that Luda is a zombie, she draws her gun. A shootout occurs between her and Andre, which is mutually fatal.

Who originated the "Dead" franchise in the 1960s?

Romero and his son, Cameron, made seven "Dead" films, stretching into the 2000s. This doesn't include remakes of "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead."

When the group decides to escape the mall, how do they plan to do it?

The plan is to reinforce the shuttles with materials found around the mall, including its garage and storeroom. For some reason, this includes razor wire. Maybe that was for holding off early Black Friday shoppers!

When they escape the mall, where do they plan to go?

The idea is that there are islands out in Lake Michigan which are very lightly populated, thus might be untouched by the plague. Steve and C.J. at first ridicule the idea, but get on board.

How do the mall survivors get food to Andy?

Chips gets through the crowd of zombies unhurt, then through what looks like a dog door in the side of the gun shop. Which raises the question -- why does a gun shop need a pet door?

Which song played under the opening credits?

The credit sequence for "Dawn" has to be among the best in recent horror films. Grainy clips of civil unrest and panic are interspersed with audio from news reports and with blood-red titles, which pool and are vacuumed away like actual blood, all backed by Cash's song about the Book of Revelation and the apocalypse.

Who dies in the mission to rescue Nicole (and get more weapons) at the gun shop?

Tucker's death serves to re-position Steve from a sarcastic guy to a real villain. He demands to trade places with Tucker as the person who stays behind. Then he abandons his post at the emergency-exit door, so that the away team is overtaken by zombies, which then get into the mall.

Who drives the shuttles in the escape attempt?

Everyone's got a task, though. The others wield the guns or the chainsaws, and C.J. throws a propane tank off the roof and then shoots it with a rifle, causing an explosion that mows zombies down and clears a path forward.

Death scene bonus round: How does Monica die?

"Dawn of the Dead" was criticized for its lack of the slow-build tension the original had, but it excelled at showing the "collateral damage" wreaked in times of chaos. This includes preventable "friendly fire" deaths.

In what year was the new "Dawn of the Dead" released?

"Dawn of the Dead" was one of the better remakes in a period flooded with both remakes and sequels. Among its fellow travelers were do-overs of "The Hills Have Eyes" and "The Omen."

Death scene bonus round: How does Steve die?

Early in the film, Ana has promised to "blow [his] head off" if Steve becomes a zombie. That's exactly what she does.

Death scene bonus round: How does C.J. die?

C.J. has the movie's best "redemption" arc. He starts out on a power trip, disarming and locking up the other survivors and giving them orders. He ends up, though, sacrificing himself for the rest.

Death scene bonus round: How does Michael die?

We don't actually see Michael die, just take out his gun while standing on the pier. As the yacht sails off toward a hopefully better future, we hear the sound of a gunshot.

Which song plays under the end credits?

Just like the opening credits were interspersed with zombie mayhem, the end credits include "found footage" from Steve's video camera, left on board. Terry appears to be filming the voyage to a Lake Michigan island. We'll just say the bits of footage aren't exactly encouraging, if you were holding out for a happy ending.

In which year was the original "Dawn of the Dead" released?

In Romero's original, a helicopter stands in for a sailboat as the vehicle that promises potential escape. The lead male and female characters, Peter and Francine, fly away from the mall in it. Their ultimate fate is unknown.

Ken Foree, who played Peter in the first "Dawn," appears in the second in what guise?

It's Tom Savini who appears as a sheriff, also on TV. Sadly, he doesn't have a line as good as the sheriff at the end of "Night of the Living Dead," who says laconically, "Yeah, they're dead, they're all messed up."

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