THE DEAD REVIEW BY BIG MAN GAV.
Gav with Granddaddy of the dead George A Romero!
The Dead (2010)
In a world filled with zombie related media it is quite sad to know that most of the films stink more than the dead folk shuffling through them. For every ‘Dawn of the dead’ there is a ‘Return of the living dead 4’ and ‘Flight of the dead’ to keep the balance tragically off kilter. Even George Romero’s recent works have done little to keep the genre alive and the less said about Steve Miner’s appalling Day of the dead remake the better. With this in mind I was more than a little weary at watching the Ford brothers offering ‘The Dead’. The first African zombie film I have seen.
The Dead starts with a lone survivor from the last plane full of evacuees leaving zombie infested Africa. Stranded and alone in the desert with little ammo or water, Military engineer Brian Murphy must head North if he is to escape the outbreak. After a near miss with a bunch of undead villagers Brian forms a rocky alliance with AWOL soldier Daniel, who is searching for his son.
In terms of plot that is essentially it. The two spend their days travelling from one township to the next taking supplies and narrowly escaping from zombie hordes that seemingly appear from nowhere. You might think that this would become tedious over its 105 minute running time and you might be right. It does drag slightly in places but that being said it is hard to see how you could liven up the script without dampening the overall feel. The Dead is a very atmospheric film and its true beauty lies in the tension that the Ford Brothers create. Brian and Daniels journey is genuinely harrowing and the real terror is realising that although you can easily weave around the zombies and out walk them you simply cannot stop and rest. How do you sleep? When can you stop to eat food? When every bullet counts you have to choose your kills wisely and take precious time to raid the corpse for replacements. It’s this attention to detail that adds to the desperation and ultimately sets The Dead apart from other horror films.
The African setting works well and apart from being beautiful to look at also serves as a realistic back drop for the beginning of the apocalypse. A country with poor sanitation, wide spread poverty and insufficient health care is far more likely to give birth to an epidemic than radiation from a downed satellite or laboratory created virus. The zombies look brilliant too. Most of the cast look like they are local villagers that haven’t acted before but somehow manage to be some the best zombies I have ever seen. The film’s opening shot has a creeper limping around on a broken leg and later on there are real life amputee actors playing disabled undead. There is little to no CGI being used and the head kills are all the better for it. I also liked that there is virtually no soundtrack to the film. The silence is very unnerving and the absence of a ‘Ta-dah! He’s behind you!’ score is most welcome in this case.
By now you have probably guessed that I enjoyed The Dead a lot. Its vintage feel is reminiscent of Romero’s golden days but what’s most apparent is that in the right hands the future of zombies isn’t worm food. There is still some life in the old bastards yet...
The Dead is available on Blu-ray and DVD from October 11th in the UK.
THE DEAD REVIEW BY JONNY T.
Me with self applied face slap on Halloween!
So here's my thoughts on The Dead,I won't go into all the details as Gav does that so much better than i can! I don't know what it was but for me this just didn't quite work. I could see flashes of genius as with the zombies which were really quite fantastic, some of the best i have ever seen aside from The Walking Dead, The scene in which he arrives on the beach and the zombies start shambling over the dunes is great, the detail on every single zombie is quite breathtaking especially the very 1st zombie, you get to see that it shambles along with a limp to reveal it's broken leg snapping in and out of place is wince inducing, yes that's right these zombies are shamblers, real zombies!!
But great zombies don't make a great film and i thought for all the greatness of the zombies the film went on way too long, the scenery is also perfect with long shot's of fantastic landscapes but when it get's to about the 15th time of slow motion sunrise over the African planes i was starting to get bored.
Now i'm not saying this is a bad film, far from it, it just could have worked in my opinion so much more better if the pace had have been faster, the ending is great and as Gav said a good start for the Ford Brothers so i'll definately be keeping an eye on there future works.