Sexy, Sex and Nude Scenes
A man and a woman have sex: he thrusts from behind as she leans over a sink, and her bare breasts are visible as well as the side of her bare buttocks (this scene only goes on for about 5 seconds, but after the scene where Ving Rhames lifts a weight, it goes back to this one, this time breasts not revealed). This happens fast so it is not very graphic.
A man and a woman who are married kiss and caress each other in a shower (we see them through a sheer shower curtain and their bare buttocks and her bare breast are evident, but very blurred.)
A woman climbs on top of, and kisses her husband in bed.
A young man and a young woman flirt and lie on a sleeping bag together.
We see a some bare breasts in some scenes, one belonging to an undead character and another to a human, shown around the credits.
2 women briefly kiss in the end credit scene.
Violent and Bloody Scenes
Lots of blood spraying.
A man hits a zombie with a croquet mallet, breaking it. Then, as the zombie attacks him he impales the head of the zombie with the broken piece of wood. Blood is seen coming out of the bottom of his head and as the spike exits the top of the zombie's head, we see brain matter and blood squirt out.
A man has his neck bitten by a zombie. We see veins and entrails get ripped out, and see the inside of his neck. During this scene there is a lot of blood spraying out of the man's neck. This is the only scene when the flesh being torn out from a bite is seen.
Many zombies are shot in the head, usually no blood. In one scene in particular, a zombie's head is blown apart, sending pieces of it flying around the room. The walls are covered in fleshy chunks and brain matter as well as large amounts of blood and gore after this scene.
A man stumbles and accidentally kills a woman with a chainsaw. We see the chainsaw slice her from the shoulder down to her waist. The saw rips her shirt apart as it rips her flesh apart sending blood and gore spraying around the area, even on the windscreen, making the bus crash and topple over, killing the man as well For a quick moment we also see the insides start coming out and hit the chainsaw, making for a gory mess. This happens VERY fast though.
A man is hit by a speeding ambulance. We see his body literally break in half as the ambulance collides with him sending him flying into a yard.
A speeding car crashes into a gas station, resulting in a large and violent explosion.
A man gets surrounded by a horde of zombies, and as he is about to get eaten, he blows up a tank of propane gas, killing many zombies as well as himself.
A legless zombie is shot point blank range in the head with a shotgun. The impact is not seen, but we see the remains of his head splatter against a wall behind him.
We see many reanimated corpses walking around in various stages of decay, with opaque eyes (or the lack thereof), darkened veins, limp rotten skin, exposed innards/bones, and usually with many gruesome injuries inflicted on their bodies prior to death that have since coagulated and rotted out.
The reanimated corpse of a large woman charges at a group of survivors. One of the survivors grabs a fireplace poker and stabs it into the eye of the zombie and pushes it in deeper until it breaks out of the back of the zombie's head, killing it.
The group of survivors turns kerosene tanks into homemade bombs to deal with the hordes of zombies. We do not see an initial impact from the explosion but see burning bloody limbs lying everywhere afterwards and see zombies walking with severe injuries from explosions (missing body parts, on fire, mutilated, etc...)
Many zombies got sliced with a chainsaw through the side of a bus. We see legs and arms get sawed off, a few zombie's torsos get sawed open, and we see one unlucky zombie's head get sawed in half, causing what's left of its brain to ooze out. This is the only scene in the film depicting extremely explicit and disturbing gore.
Scary and Disturbing Scenes
The first half of the movie contains many "Boo" scenes which are a bit frightening.
Lots and Lots of zombie-almost-bit-my-arm-off scenes.
There are many close calls and chase scenes, all quite intense.
The movie is very gory.
Many lead characters are killed.
There is a pregnant woman who turns into a zombie later in the movie and yet she's still kept by her husband and is hidden from the group. shegives birth to a zombie baby, which is shortly after killed by a gunshot to the head off-screen. This scene is disturbing and frightening.
Returning from a busy day in the hospital, Ana spends time with her husband when a neighbours daughter comes into the house and attacks her husband. He dies before returning to life and attacking Ana. She runs and escapes in her car, driving through a neighbourhood rife with violence and fires. After crashing her car, she hooks up with a group of armed survivors who take refuge in a mall. The group settle in and fortify their position as an army of the undead gather outside.
Before I start my review, let me just say that this will be biased as I am always easily won over by zombie movies. The fact that they just keep coming (fast or slow), lack character and only want to kill really just freaks me out. So I tend to get easily scared by the genre (even if `enjoy' is perhaps not the right word) and be easily more negligent towards their faults. Despite telling myself that I wouldn't bother with this film as it would scare me, I went for it anyway in a fit of `confront your fears' type of stupidity! The film starts with a creepy opening and pretty much manages to keep the pace up for the whole film. It, like the zombies, moves fast and brutally throughout and is very, very tense.
Others have complained about the lack of gore - however I found the graphic exploding heads to do that more than enough for my tastes! Better than gore is the atmosphere. The use of news footage is not original but it succeeds (along with the aerial view of the town) in creating the impression of a world turning to sh*t. I don't know about you but this scares me and the film did it well. The speed of the zombie attacks makes for a thrilling ride and it did make me very tense - Snyder managed to make the whole film a threat (especially for a first time director) and I honestly have a very stiff neck a day after seeing this simply because my body was tensed up for the whole film!
The pace of the film also serves to cover the real problems in content and plot. Unlike the original there is no satirical swipe on consumerism - the fact that the zombies are just wandering aimlessly around the mall like they used to in life is pretty much ignored here - but times are very different now I guess. The plot itself also has quite a few stupid moments where the characters act in a way you know they wouldn't in real life. For example people go on suicide missions for little real reasons and you can tell that the script is just doing it to create more action. However, when you are into it, these things don't really seem to matter. The film may be a little silly when you think about it but it does have a good ending - downbeat and realistic (or at least as realistic as it can be!) and left me with no hope of a happy ending - in this regard it is everything that `28 Days Later..' is not.
The cast is good even if the script places their characters secondary to the action. Polley is used to slightly more substantial roles but still does well here. Rhames is lumbered with a religious background that is never explained, but he is a great presence throughout. Weber is the standout role however. His character is a slightly less cartoon version of Evil Dead's Ash. He is the unwilling hero but yet he seems to accept all the obstacles he comes across. He also manages to be one of the group that the audience cares about - most of them are fodder and we know it! Phifer is a good actor but seemed too `gangster' to really be driven to this degree by his family. The rest of the support cast are mostly just there to get eaten but they do OK.
Overall this is not a great film - but it is an effective one. As a film it lacks subtext, comment and plot logic. However as a thriller it is fast paced, gripping and tense with a satisfyingly bleak conclusion. Snyder does a good job as a first timer and creates an atmosphere that is gripping even if it lacks originality. Like I said, I don't deal with zombie movies very well and am easily scared but I reckon that this should satisfy many a Saturday night thrill-seeking crowd even if it does nothing for your brain apart from it's risk getting eaten.