Whether it's a sacred sacrifice or schlock and horror, blood is big box office.

This week, Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ came to the end of its reign at the top of the weekly charts. Taking its place, Dawn of the Dead, an over-the-top horror remake directed by Zack Snyder, featured more bodies rising from the grave. But these bodies are not resurrected so much as they are reanimated — with a monstrous desire to slay and devour the living. Thus, the band of survivors in the spotlight, including a nurse (Sarah Polley of Go and Guinevere), a courageous cop (Ving Rhames of Pulp Fiction, Out of Sight), and a mall security guard (Michael Kelly) must do what they can to blast zombie heads from zombie shoulders in an attempt to save the world.

After pulling in $26.7 million in its first weekend, Dawn of the Dead is giving the entertainment media a field day with variations of the headline "Top-Grossing Zombies Scare Away Jesus." That's no surprise. The fact that The Passion held #1 for three full weeks will probably remain the film industry's most significant event this year.

But what are we to conclude from the fact that mainstream film critics are giving Dawn of the Dead much higher marks than The Passion? Sure, Gibson's work was flawed, but is it really inferior in terms of artmaking, meaning, and significance? What a sad, sad commentary on critical discernment in the mainstream. It seems their credibility crumbles when they prove incapable of appreciating the work of a principled artist motivated by faith.

But religious press film critics are not afraid of criticizing this horde of cannibalistic monsters.

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) finds the movie "laced with campy, pitch-black humor with pretensions of ...

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