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The Dead (DVD)

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Genre: Horror / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford / Actors: Rob Freeman, Prince David Oseia ... / DVD released 2011-10-10 at Anchor Bay Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      09.05.2012 20:49
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      A different approach to the tired genre of the modern-day Zombie movie

      **FILM ONLY REVIEW**

      The Dead follows the story of military engineer, Brian Murphy, after his evacuation plane crashes in South Africa, and his struggle to find alternate transport back to America to reunite with his family. Alongside this plot, African soldier, Daniel Dembele returns to his village to find his wife dead and his son missing. These two lost souls find each other and agree to help the other find their families, as they travel across the zombie-strewn wilderness.

      The first thing you notice about The Dead is its use of Africa as its setting. This is the first time I've seen Africa used as a location for a zombie movie - it evokes memories of the computer game, Resident Evil 5, which also featured South Africa as a setting, albeit with faster zombies than this movie has. At times, I felt the directors were distracted by the beautiful location that they focused on capturing the vastness of the deserts and horizons, neglecting the pace of the movie and plot.

      While it seems apparent that the film has a B-movie budget from some of the opening scenes, such as the plane crash. There are some really effective moments later on in the film that make use of the sparse locations, and slowly plodding zombies. One scene that particularly stood out was when Murphy drove into a zombie, then stopped, before driving over its head. The special effects used were very effective, and more ambitious than I would have given the film credit for.

      My main criticisms of this movie was the slow plot, which seemed exacerbated by the lack of human protagonists and dialogue between them. There seemed to be a lot more focus on capturing the mood from the location, rather than getting us to care about the characters and developing their relationship. Also, it seemed like far too much of the movie was set around the car they use to travel the African desert, with about three separate occasions where the two characters had to fix the vehicle, whilst zombies approached.

      As a low-budget zombie movie, it is one of the best in its field - it didn't rely heavily on cheap CGI effects as most modern B-movies tend to do, giving it less of a feel of a video-game and more of a genuine movie touch. I think it doesn't quite match up to the legendary statuses of the Evil Dead films, or any of the early George A. Romero classics, which managed to gain a cult following despite their low-budget beginnings. It is worthwhile watching though, just to see an original take on the zombie genre in a new location.

      This Review is also posted on Ciao, under the same username.

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