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How Army of the Dead compares to Dawn of the Dead, according to Zack Snyder

Army of the Dead
(Image credit: Netflix)

If you know Zack Snyder from his DC days, you might be surprised to learn that the director first made his name helming the 2004 remake of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. But that was then, and this is now. Snyder is set to release Army of the Dead on Netflix on May 21 – and has explained to GamesRadar+ at a recent media event just how different the two are and how his approach to the zombie genre has evolved in the interim.

"I’m a little bit more genre self-aware than I was when I made Dawn," Snyder says. "Dawn was specifically about what made the Romero movie good or interesting. Anytime I pushed the edges, it was just pushing the edges of that movie and that genre."

Army of the Dead, though, sees Snyder widening his net of influences. As was already abundantly clear from the trailer, this is a zombie heist movie and not merely a zombie movie. That means a clash of styles and genres.

"I think Army is a bigger exploration in genre, in my opinion," Snyder explains. "I’m really referencing these movies like Planet of the Apes, Escape from New York, Aliens, The Thing, Die Hard – these seminal genre things and what makes them work and the tropes we accept so readily. That’s really the big difference."

Those differences even extend to the hordes of the undead featured in both Dawn of the Dead and Army of the Dead.

"In Dawn, you basically have one kind of zombie than runs… in this movie we really wanted to homage the traditional shamblers but then I wanted to sort of separate this other evolution of these zombies into these Alphas and make that story into a different story. I really wanted to say there’s a break."

So: more action, new zombies, and a reverent look back to some of film’s finest. Whether you’re a Dawn of the Dead fan or just a Snyder fan in general, Army of the Dead is sure to appeal to the best of both worlds. 

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I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.