Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday


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?