I love this movie for so many reasons. First of all, I lived in Pittsburgh when this movie was filmed. A friend of mine was a zombie extra. I also saw Dawn of the Dead at the Monroeville Mall were it was filmed. [It was a quick walk to the car that night to say the least!]
Secondly, this may be the most intelligent zombie film ever made. For me, the mall becomes a symbol of materialistic culture and how we try to isolate ourselves from the horrors of the world by acquiring more stuff. There is also an underlying sense that humans, when faced with the most unspeakable of circumstance, still can't figure out how to work together and devolve into our most base instincts. This is brutal stuff to say the least!
Dawn of the Dead is George Romero's sequel to the classic Night of the Living Dead (1968). That's a long time for a sequel but this one packs a powerful punch. Sure, by today's standards the special effects look a bit cheesy. However, Tom Savini's work in this film was ground breaking at the time and he would go on to become not only a special effects wizard but also an actor (From Dusk Till Dawn, 1996] and a director [the remake of Night of the Living Dead in 1990].
This film is intentionally humorous at times and unflinchingly bleak at others. It takes hold of the viewer early on in the first scene and never lets go. A very good remake of Dawn of the Dead was done in 2004 with Zack Snyder directing [300, Watchmen]. Snyder ups the gore to epic proportions but loses some of Romero's social commentary in the progess. He also ups the action by using fast running viral zombies instead of Romero's lumbering dead. Both films have their merits but it shouldn't surprise you that I prefer the original over the remake.
Dawn of the Dead can be viewed in parts on YouTube but I think this one needs to be seen on a bigger screen. Classic zombie horror!
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.