The zombie renaissance creates vulnerability in our society that serves as a powerful metaphor for social anxiety. An example of this social anxiety consists of the fear for the failure of global social structures triggered by consumer capitalism and the helplessness of risk-managing institutions. Dawn of the Dead (George Romero, 1978) and 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002) portray the aforementioned failures respectively, leaving viewers to ponder a potential fix to national renewal. Kyle Bishop, author of "The idle proletariat: Dawn of the Dead, consumer ideology, and the loss of productive labor," focuses on the metaphor of zombies acting as a catalyst that reveals the exact problem infecting humanity: pervasive consumerism. (1) Jordan S. Caroll, author of "The Aesthetics of Risk in Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later," focuses on the risks that our society undergoes by placing issues of national security with risk-managing institutions. (2) Zombies provide us with clarity of vision by imaging a state of vulnerability possible within our society. These vulnerabilities consist of human nature's desire to be materialistically sufficient and the risk society that develops from our persistent reliance on the government and the military for protection.
George Romero's satiric sequel, Dawn of the Dead delivers a cunning attack on American consumer capitalism. The survivors of an epidemic that has resurrected the dead find refuge in a shopping mall only to find that their hopes for easy access to material objects are shared by the growing hoards of undead. The insatiable need to purchase, own, and consume has become so profoundly entrenched in twentieth-century Americans that their resurrected corpses are persistently driven by identical instincts and desires. The surviving humans are unavoidably consumers, and because the mall supplies them with all the materials they could want, they no longer require self-produced goods.