Some filmmakers are like marathon winners; they stay consistently strong and fast for an inconceivable amount of time, and when they finish, you are left inspired by their existence. And some directors have careers like my performance in my second grade's three-legged race. I fell at the start, busted my nose open, and writhed on the ground for a while as my partner walked away from me. The following five directors did similar things in their own metaphorical three-legged races. What began as a burst of glorious potential devolved into something hideous and often embarrassing.
5Zack Snyder With Dawn Of The Dead
Zack Snyder has always been the Mountain Dew Code Red to Christopher Nolan's iced coffee. They both direct grand adventure movies, but while Nolan's philosophy is that of the kid in the back of the freshman year writing class with the scarf, Snyder's is frat bro existentialism. Snyder is pretty great at examining the darkness that lurks in the hearts of men, but only when those men are grunting at each other, "HOLD ME BACK BEFORE I LAY THIS MOTHERFUCKER OUT, DUDE"-style. In any other case, it's a toss-up. For example, in Watchmen, he totally got the plight of radioactive superman Dr. Manhattan. But the only female on the team, Silk Spectre, was shot like she was in an impromptu Axe Body Spray commercial.
The only movie that Snyder has done that's consistent throughout is his first, the 2004 Dawn Of The Dead remake. If you haven't seen it, it's about a bunch of people being eaten by zombies at the mall. It's also fantastic in a way that few remakes actually are, mainly because it does not seek to replicate or expand upon the original. A lot of times in horror remakes, directors try to cram in "answers" to questions that they think viewers have, which totally robs the movies of their potency. We're scared of the things we don't know. When we say "Oh, man. He uses a chainsaw? What the hell?" we don't want the director to respond with, "Well, he got his chainsaw from the old slaughterhouse he used to work at." There's nothing terrifying about learning where Freddy Krueger shops for his sweaters.
Instead of that route, Snyder actually chops off any of the rough edges of the source material. The original ends with a bunch of bikers attacking the mall that the heroes are in, which leads to a lot of cool gore effects, but bites the face off of the movie's sense of pacing. It robs us of the intimate climax that Dawn Of The Dead could've built to. Snyder's version doesn't have that problem, as it's a horror/action film from the very beginning. Sure, it's not as satirical as the original, but it doesn't need to be. Snyder is not interested in creating a horror film that's also an allegory. The zombies don't have to represent anything. They can get by when they're just being spooky zombies. Constantly reminding me that "The real villain ... is man" is the best way to get me to hate both zombies and English teachers.