With Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder finds himself going back to his zombie roots. His 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead is arguably still not only his best movie, but the one that puts on full display his capabilities as a filmmaker. While not necessarily capturing the magic of his first film, his latest outing is a tense, brutal and surprisingly emotional flick.
What Snyder does so well here, besides successfully injecting new life into a relatively burnt-out sub genre, is his character work. Army of the Dead's characters might not be the most complex of creations, but they do feel real. From likable heroes such as Dave Bautista's vulnerable, sympathetic Scott Ward to Theo Rossi's vile, despicable Burt Cummings, Snyder does a superb job at carving out grounded, realistic characters.
This focus on character is what allows for the deaths to hit so hard. Just about every character - love them or hate them - meets a grisly, brutal ending. Whether their deaths feel brutal because you cared about them or because they got what they deserved, the kills in Army of the Dead do not screw around.
All of that work for nothing.
Kate Ward's entire reason for following her father into the zombie-infested Las Vegas was to rescue her friend Geeta. She risked not only her life, but the lives of her comrades to save Geeta, which she eventually did. However, all was for naught as Kate's BFF died anyway.
Geeta's death in of itself wasn't visually brutal, but it was narratively savage. The entire film had on overbearing sense of nihilism to it. Every character but Kate met a grisly fate in which, for the most part, they did not deserve. But, the death of Geeta, and Scott's death following shortly after, solidified the movie's pessimistic outlook.
The survivors would have more than likely been able to escape if Kate hadn't had to run off and get her friend. It's understandable why she did, but it's by doing so that lead to the eventual death of her father and Peters. What Geeta's death represented was the idea that sometimes the road to hell really is paved with good intentions.