Ana

One morning Ana wakes up noticing a little girl at the bedroom door. Her nightgown covered in blood. The attack begins. My Women Who Wow Wednesday series continues with this week’s spotlight on Dawn of the Dead’s Ana.

Sarah Polley is Ana Zombie Hunter
Sarah Polley is Ana Zombie Hunter

I remember watching fellow Canadian Sarah Polley on CBC’s family program Road to Avonlea back in the early Nineties. For those unfamiliar with the show, it featured an ensemble cast of kids growing up in Canada’s turn-of-the-century Prince Edward Island.

I found it hard to imagine that sweet little girl transforming herself into one of the most lethal zombie hunters ever captured on the big screen. Yet, that’s exactly what she turned into for her portrayal of Ana in the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead.

From the moment she woke up that morning, Ana had to battle a zombie child, her once-loving husband, neighbors, friends, strangers—all changed into the undead from an unknown cause—take refuge in a mall, escape in an armored bus, and fight off hoards of maggot bags all the way to the coast for an escape.

Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead

The whole movie is a crazy ride through a Milwaukee zombie apocalypse.

At 5′ 2″ (1.57 m), Ana’s the unsuspecting hero. Her job before this mess consisted of helping people. She’s a nurse. No way could she ever hurt anyone. It’s not in her nature. But when she faces the prospect of loosing the cop that’d helped her from a car wreck, she retaliates with a shotgun. She blows away one of the infected, making it a Twitcher in a pool of its own blood. Someone else steps in later on to put the beast out of its misery.

Ana gets stronger as the movie gets fiercer. In one instance, she aids a woman twice her size, attempting to keep her from dying. The woman doesn’t make it. A moment passes and the woman rises from her death, attacking Ana. Again, Ana uses her cunning and without a gun dispatches the woman in a most brutal fashion. In another instance, when confronted by one of her peers wagging a gun around, she simply states, “Get the gun out of my face.”

Dawn of the Dead's Ana
Dawn of the Dead’s Ana

As time passes, although hardened by the killings, Ana retains her humor. One day, she walks in on a group of survivors playing Hollywood Squares on the mall’s rooftop. The squares are the zombie collective below and the chalk is a sniper perched on the other side of the street. The dialog went something like this:

Steve: Oh, oh. Rosie O’Donnell. Tell him to get Rosie.
Kenneth: Oh, yeah. Rosie.
Tucker: No, too easy. Give him something hard.
Ana: You guys had really rough childhoods, didn’t you? Little bit rocky?
Steve: Hey, sweetheart. Let me tell you something. You, uh, you have my permission. I ever turn into one of those things? Do me a favor, blow my head off.
Ana: [nods] Oh, yeah, you can count on that.

I won’t reveal if Ana ever follows up with her promise to Steve, but I will say this: Ana makes a formidable opponent to anything getting in the way of humanity’s will to survive.

Have you ever seen Dawn of the Dead? What do you think of Ana? Do you see similarities between the movie and the TV show The Walking Dead?

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16 thoughts on “Ana

  1. George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead terrified me. I still can’t watch it right or the remake. I watch the Walking Dead but I had to warm up to it. I think Ana is a great fearless woman. It takes some big kahuna’s to do what she did. Most people would have sat in the corner and cried. Ana decided to she wanted to survive. Great choice again for this week!!!

  2. I wasn’t really a Sarah Polley fan until I saw this movie. I could take her or leave her beforehand. She did a great job in this role though, so I’ve liked her since. I had a pretty bad anxiety disorder at the time, and this movie made me very anxious. I remember walking out of there and saying, “I can’t see anymore of these new zombie movies! They make me too nervous!” I meant it as a compliment. It was the same way I quit seeing the new crop of horror movies after watching “The Ring” and “The Others”. I’ve seen zombie movies since then of course, but none of them have made me as nervous and worried as this one did. Whether that’s because I’ve gotten a grip of my anxiety issues or because the other movies aren’t as anxiety-inducing, I can’t say, but I loved this movie and loved Sarah Polley in this movie.

    • I enjoyed The Ring and The Others, they were well done. Have you seen The Sixth Sense? I don’t ever remember being so terrified watching a movie. Here’s a test for anxiety…try Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project for size. If you don’t get anxious then you know you’re cured!

      • The Sixth Sense was great – scary, messed with your mind, emotionally touching. I was okay during Blair Witch, but only really liked the very last scene. Still haven’t built up the courage for Paranormal Activity, haha!

  3. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy “Dawn of the Dead”. For me the movie was too “bright”. There was too much lighting to me and so it didn’t generate the tension that, say, the original “Night of the Living Dead” did for me.

  4. I love this movie! It’s a classic and one of my top zombacalypse movies lol I have seen the walking dead and as much as I looove zombie movies, I could not get into that show. I thought the pacing was way too slow in the second season and I never bonded with any of the characters so I didn’t care what happend to them. I loved the first season though!

  5. Dawn of the Dead is probably one of my fave zombie movies. Ana was great in this. She was in Road to Avonlea..thats why she looks familiar. haha!
    I can’t compare to Walking Dead though. I haven’t started watching that just yet. I’ve heard really good things though. Definitely need to get on that.

    • The first episode of Season 1 shocked me. I suppose it has to do with the fact it was on AMC and I had gotten used to AMC’s censoring of violence and language of movies. At least, it was that way when the channel first aired. Then Breaking Bad happened and it soon pushed the envelope for the channel further into HBO territory. The Walking Dead takes AMC whole new level, and now makes it a prime destination for viewers wanting more than reality TV as their staple entertainment.

      • Sounds interesting. Although I might not have the same shock with the different tv stations and their content since I stream everything…my dear bunny ears don’t get me anything other than CBC, CTV, Global and a handful of French channels 😉

  6. It is a good movie but I have seen it soooo many times over the years that I really don’t care to see it again LOL but I will always like George A. Romero. He is the leading zombie movie maker in that genre.

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