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SYFY WIRE Dawn of the Dead

What Did George Romero Really Think of Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead Remake?

It's always hard to gain the approval of the master.

By Josh Weiss
(L-R) George Romero smiles in black glasses; A bloody zombie scowls in Dawn Of The Dead (2004).

It's hard to gain the approval of the master, especially when said master defined an entire genre of filmmaking.

Take Zack Snyder's 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead (currently streaming on Peacock), for example. While many fans consider the James Gunn-written project to be an exemplary take on the 1978 original and Snyder's best movie by far, zombie godfather George A. Romero was only impressed by the first quarter or so.

RELATED: Dawn of the Dead’s Post-Credit Scene Remains One of the Darkest Shock Endings Ever

What did George A. Romero think of Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake?

A wide-eyed zombie faces the barrel of a shotgun in Dawn of the Dead (2004).

"It was better than I expected. I thought it was a good action film," he said during a 2005 interview conducted by TimeOut (via Uproxx). "The first 15, 20 minutes were terrific, but it sort of lost its reason for being. It was more of a video game. I'm not terrified of things running at me; it's like Space Invaders. There was nothing going on underneath."

SYFY WIRE's own James Grebey pretty much agreed with that sentiment when he wrote: "There’s something so powerful about those first 10 minutes and the following title sequence. You almost don’t even need the rest of the film. Almost."

Romero once again touched on the subject while sitting down with The Telegraph in 2013 (four years prior to his death at the age of 77), stating that he didn't like the remake "very much," despite the fact that it garnered praise from other horror icons like Stephen King

"Basically, because I was using the idea for satire," he continued. "My film needed to be done right when it was done, because that sort of shopping mall was completely new. It was the first one in Pennsylvania that we had ever seen. The heart of the story is based in that. And I didn’t think the remake had it."

To his credit, though, Snyder knew he was playing with flesh-eating fire from the very beginning. "[Remaking] Dawn of the Dead is a sacrilegious act that I have embraced," he admits in the film's making-of documentary. "I can't apologize for it because we had so much fun doing it. But at the same time, I was aware that I was treading on some hallowed grounds, if you will."

He later continues: "This movie is definitely a re-envisioning. It's not a remake. We didn't take George's script and shoot it again."

The filmmaker would, of course, return to the zombie genre nearly two decades later with Army of the Dead, which spawned an ongoing franchise, including Army of Thieves, and the upcoming Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas anime series and Planet of the Dead sequel.

Craving some undead thrills? Dawn of the Dead is now streaming on Peacock alongside Night of the Living Dead, and Land of the Dead.