Beyond this, though, I think the most important idea Dawn of the Dead presents concerns the ability to quickly accept change. Throughout the film, only those characters who survive are those who are able to switch their mode of thinking in time. After his terrible experience in the housing project, Roger mentions to Peter that he's thinking of leaving. At the same time, Stephen insists that Francine leave the TV station with him in his helicopter even though she wishes to continue to work. Roger and Stephen both understand quicker than those around them and that there's no use in pretending civilization is OK at this point. It no longer makes sense -- it's downright silly -- to continue to do your job and take orders from a boss if there are dead people walking around.
This is no small thing. It would take a huge mental leap to accept that society has broken so badly that your normal life is no longer ever going to be possible. Many would simply not be able to do this and would stumble through the shambles of their old lives as best as they could... you might say in a zombie-like fashion. To strike out in a helicopter, unsure of where to go and what will happen to the world and leaving behind everything you ever knew, would be a hard and scary undertaking indeed.
And, even after making this giant change of thinking, there's no guarantee that you will be able to do so again if required. When the biker gang attacks the mall, Stephen finds himself unable to adapt to this new reality. After their months of hard work, he just cannot accept the loss of the mall. He should have known all along that the island of tranquility they'd created was never going to last forever, but he fell into the trap that its temporary comfort provided. So, he snaps and begins shooting at the biker gang, eventually ensuring his own death.
What this all means to me: despite the disaster policy I electronically agree to every year -- sorry -- I ain't showing up at work should I see a dead person waltzing down the street. That's a change I'm damn sure going to adapt to really fast given all of the horror movies I've seen.
Watched: blu-ray from Anchor Bay.