‘Army of the Dead’: Is the New Zack Snyder Movie a Sequel to ‘Dawn of the Dead’?

Zack Snyder is back with another zombie movie — Army of the Dead. When Netflix announced Snyder’s latest zombie project, many fans couldn’t wait to see if there would be parallels. While Army of the Dead isn’t a sequel, a few Easter eggs reference Dawn of the Dead in the movie. 

DAVE BAUTISTA as SCOTT WARD and ZACK SNYDER in Netflix's 'Army of the Dead'
DAVE BAUTISTA and ZACK SNYDER | CLAY ENOS/NETFLIX

‘Dawn of the Dead’ 2004 is Zack Snyder’s first movie

George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was originally a commentary on a materialistic society, consumerism, and isolation. In the horror movie, Ana (Sarah Polley) escapes her zombified husband and realizes her Milwaukee neighborhood is overrun by zombies.

Unlike Romero’s zombies, Snyder introduced fans of the genre to his fast zombies. His 2004 remake also gave fans a more realistic visual of zombies, thanks to Snyder’s access to advanced special effects.  

‘Army of the Dead’ on Netflix 

Dave Bautista plays Army of the Dead‘s main protagonist Scott Ward. A down-and-out mercenary, Ward is willing to work with a shady millionaire to win back his daughter’s affection. The millions of dollars he is to acquire is just a bonus. 

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Set in a zombie-ridden Las Vegas, Ward and his motley crew must get in and out of the walled-in city in under 36 hours. If not, a nuke will reduce them to ashes along with the evolved zombies living within the city walls. 

Zack Snyder’s ‘Army of the Dead’ features’ Dawn of the Dead’ Easter eggs 

Snyder has admittedly been thinking about Army of the Dead since Dawn of the Dead wrapped. Unfortunately, none of those pitches ever panned out. But Army of the Dead is another story.

“Just exploring Dawn in doing that movie and taking it apart [was exciting],” Snyder told Den of Geek. As he explained to the outlet, the heist zombie movie has been a “Snyder pitch ‘for forever.'” 

Army of the Dead isn’t a sequel to Dawn. Still, that doesn’t mean Snyder didn’t include a few nods to his first zombie film. 

‘Army of the Dead’ soundtrack and intro mimic ‘Dawn of the Dead’

Snyder’s song choices in Dawn of the Dead include Richard Cheese’s jazzy rendition of “Down With the Sickness.” Cheese’s memorable voice is also featured in Army singing “Viva Las Vegas.” 

Plus, both Dawn and Army feature extensive montages as the title sequence. In Dawn, Snyder uses recordings of real moments of social unrest and war. In this way, he’s paying homage to Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead

Snyder gives a nod to his Dawn in Army by using a montage with a similar vibe. But this time, Snyder had the budget to show a world that upended and carried on. Both movies demonstrate the idea that the human race is doomed, whether zombie hordes come for us or not.

Zack Snyder movies ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and ‘Army of the Dead’ feature zombie babies 

Snyder changed the zombie movie genre when he introduced fans to the zombie baby in Dawn of the Dead. Andre (Mekhi Phifer) and a pregnant Luda (Inna Korobkina) bring a zombie baby into the world in Dawn.

In Army, Snyder brings fans another zombie birth. This time, a zombie fetus is clawed out of the mother-to-be’s stomach after she is beheaded.

But Snyder doesn’t just give fans another zombie baby. He gives them the understanding that zombies can reproduce, expanding on the idea of what is possible in a zombie apocalypse. 

‘Dawn of the Dead’s elevator gag is recycled in ‘Army of the Dead’

In the 2004 movie, the mall-bound survivors flee from Snyder’s iconically fast zombies. They narrowly escape the undead’s clutches in an elevator as “I’m All Out of Love” (Air Supply) blares through the speakers. 

Snyder uses an elevator to create a similar scene in the third act of Army. As the few remaining survivors try to escape, Culture Club’s rendition of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” plays in the elevator.