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The Dead Reviews

Page 1 of 7
Ryan M
Ryan M

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2012
*** out of ****

"The Dead" possesses all the bare essentials of a zombie movie. That shouldn't be enough for it to succeed, yet here we are; with a respectable and well-made horror film with part-time elements of a road movie. Howard and Jonathan Ford (credited as The Ford Brothers) direct this familiar and not-so-original but nevertheless exciting take on the genre of the undead, demonstrating that they can uphold the task of making a few movies in one. Their film would not have been as good as it is without the desire to dabble in all sorts of different things. When it comes to succeeding in those things, it does not always work; but the fact that it tried and failed to truly embarrass itself proves that it's a worthy edition to the genre, which has grown so tired over the years that even George Romero - the man who re-invented it some time ago - has been shelling out disappointment after disappointment. The Ford Brothers take his signature slow zombies and do something interesting - although not necessarily new - with them.

A military plane crashes somewhere in the oceans of Africa. Lt. Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) is able to make it to the nearest beach by morning, already aware of what will be waiting for him upon arrival. While in the plane, we saw another human who was severely wounded come back to life and bite another man on the hand, ripping his very flesh from the bone. It would appear that the dead are returning to life, hungry for human flesh, just as they have in some other 1000+ films. The lieutenant held on to a crate that contained guns and ammunition throughout his trip from the water to the shore, and he uses these tools to defend himself until he can find other forms of civilization. He comes across a village, where one of the other establishing scenes takes place. The zombies, as slow as they are, can still cause a lot of havoc; we see fires, dead bodies everywhere, and people getting bitten in spite of their ability to run faster than these...things.

While exploring the abandoned village, the Lieutenant finds another survivor; an African soldier named Daniel (Prince David Osei), who is searching for his son (who could have either died or escaped at this point). They team up so that they may survive using their collective weapons and ammunition, although the places they go are always swarming with the undead, and those who are alive are nowhere to be found. But, as can be expected, the more they search, the more they find. Eventually they'll have to run into others who have been just as fortunate - if not more, or less - as they are. You can see where the plot is going from a mile away. But what wasn't ingeniously designed plot-wise was translated to mood and a spectacularly high body count of zombies. And that's exactly what horror fans want.

A lot of the film was shot in Burkina Faso, and already we come to what is perhaps the film's one truly unique and distinctive feature. One of the brothers - Jon - was the cinematographer and did an excellent job filling in that role. "The Dead" was shot, to my knowledge, on 35mm film and mostly on-location; so the sense of realism is 100% there. The scenery is beautiful even though horrible, violent things happen in the wilderness surrounding the worthwhile sights, and the film pays a lot of attention to the heat and the sand, perhaps hoping to establish a sort of post-apocalyptic aesthetic. The Brothers could have made an attempt to render their film a zombie part-time Western flick, although they don't seem to have big ideas or intentions. They are building upon things that have already been laid out and set in stone, but what they do with these things is what counts. You've got a movie that essentials looks and feels really good, with two solid central performances and an abundance of gore to please the blood-hounds in the audience. Maybe it's just me, but I found it all to be kind of badass.

The Ford Brothers never lose sight of the human story that is at the center of their film, even if it could have used a little more seasoning and development. The two main characters roam around on their own for a little bit before meeting up, but once they do, there's some real chemistry; even if it's mostly discreet. Don't expect many humorous scenes between the two, as this is one of those dead serious zombie flicks, but what you should expect is that they will make a good team; which they kind of do. If they are to part ways, they do not hope to know one another ever again. They treat kicking zombie ass like a business; not a partnership. They are not friends, nor really acquaintances; just people in a wasteland full of the mentally inhuman. This may not be enough "depth" to satisfy those viewers in search of deeper meaning and philosophy, and the film might work best with the hardcore zombie fanatics exclusively; but "The Dead" will someday find an audience that respects and enjoys it as much as I did, and it will deserve those people about as much as they deserve it.
Francisco  G.
Francisco G.

Super Reviewer

November 6, 2011
This zombie road movie was a pleasant surprise on the genre.
Though it doesn't offer anything new or fresh, everything it does is confindent and very well executed (overall).

Shot on some impressive settings, it's refreshing to see a very delicate subject shot like this. Africa, the cradle of mankind is what makes this movie singular. There's a lot of irony on the hunger themes approached here and on little conflicts and situations that occur.

It's overall, a very competently made movie with something to say, which unfortunently has some stylistic choices that are a bit bland and cheesy. The acting is also pretty mediocre, but for a narrative told mostly throught situations and images, you could do worse than this. And for gore hounds, this one delivers some really great stuff that got my head thinking more than once"how the hell have they made this?".
John2223
John2223

Super Reviewer

October 2, 2011
"The Dead" is one of the best zombie movies I have ever seen. It begins good, and is solid throughout. It is not overly gory but the effects are very good. There are some good jumps and tense moments and the zombies are authentic, scary, and ever present.
phantomspaceman
March 1, 2014
I Love Zombie Movies but I couldn't even finish this one. Don't waste your time. Move on to something else.
February 28, 2012
A stylish and introspective zombie film, The Dead fails to cohere into anything truly great because it goes on too long and bores us with its run-of-the-mill zombie plot.
NuditysShiver
November 12, 2011
American flight engineer Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) finds himself surrounded by the undead when the plane he was in to get off the infected land of Africa, crashes right back down into it. Emerging as the only surviving member, Murphy battles through the tough terrain in search of a way off the land to make it home to his wife and daughter. Along the way he meets up with an African soldier, who saves his life, in search of his son. But what will get them first, the undead or the harsh conditions of the country? The brothers Ford have directed a fine zombie film, right up there with George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. It depicts the pessimistic nature of the crumbling civilization around them and shows there is no escape from the walking dead wherever they turn. The brothers Ford added the sense of walls closing in with the undead being everywhere the characters run to, having the whole of Africa plagued with this epidemic. The shambling dead are slow-moving, giving that sense of spookiness as they appear around every corner of the vast terrain. We have no shoddy CGI effects here, just good ol' makeup effects filled with realistic-like settings. This is the kind of film the masses have been waiting for since the epic Night.. and the Ford brothers have delivered it, pessimistic ending and all.
Sgt. Cockstrain
October 19, 2013
(49%)
A better than average zombie survival horror owing to its decent quality feel and good direction rather than anything new or inventive. Just about worth a watch for that reason alone, particularly if you happen to be a fan of zombie flicks, just don't expect too much in teams of anything new.
June 2, 2013
I'm not much into zombie films but they seem to be everywhere (woop woop) so I only watch those that differ in any way from the pack. This indie was shot entirely in Africa, so there.
The directors use the continent's vast, awe-inspiring landscapes to great effect, turning this nicely into a sort of a road-movie. Camera work is great and so is the sound. Pace is a winner, alternating from limb-ripping carnage to sun-drenched hopelessness, with just a few bumps when the cliches make their inevitable appearance. These and the mostly weak casting are just about the only flaws.
The big stars are the zombies themselves - slow-moving (until they get too close), silent (until they get too close) and ever-present. Very old school.
It all adds up to a deliciously tense viewing with assorted buckets of blood.
Apparently, this was a pain to make. Thankfully, genre fans bought it in sufficient quantities to make it all worthwhile. If you are a horror fan, you should too.
Whisperwill28
January 20, 2013
This movie is well made with nice scenery and good actors in a new type of zombie movie. Unfortunately, this movie bores you to sleep. If your looking for a lot of zombie gore and a fast paced plot, this movie is definitely not for you.
October 26, 2012
Einer der besten, h√§rtesten und ernstesten Zombiefilme seit Jahren, absolut gro√artig!
T-Hunter.
October 20, 2012
Slowest zombies ever. The zombie was about 20 feet from the main character while he was changing a tire, he changed the tire and got into the car before the zombie got to him. It took about 30 seconds movie time for a zombie to turn around. About half way through the movie I lost interest, I figured the only way the zombies would catch you is if you fell asleep. It got so bad I was rooting for the zombies just to end the movie, I realized that was not going to happen so I started doing other things while the movie played. This for me was the final straw in the slow zombie genre. This movie was not only boring but I felt no horror because the zombies was so damn slow.
January 23, 2012
I like it. I enjoy the futility of it all. The desolation of the landscape. The hopelessness that is never really captured or portrayed in the majority of zombie movies!
July 19, 2012
Rather excellent Zombie movie that right from moment one tells you they are taking this seriously and are going to tell you a story in this world you'll care about. In a world of low concept, low budget undead flicks The Dead is a shining light of what can be done with good characters and a simple tale told well. Outstanding movie.
July 11, 2012
Seemingly an evolution in zombie flicks.
June 29, 2012
Beyond the unique African backdrop and refreshingly oldschool zombies it's entirely run of the mill. It's a solid effort but it fails to go beyond the call of duty.
January 27, 2012
Ok I bought this movie and I was not disapointed. It was mostly about 2 guys from totally different worlds trying to get out of a zombie infested zone in Africa. Not too many curve balls in this one if you like zombie movies and I liked this one for sure. Good addition to my zombie collection.
Ryan M
Ryan M

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2012
*** out of ****

"The Dead" possesses all the bare essentials of a zombie movie. That shouldn't be enough for it to succeed, yet here we are; with a respectable and well-made horror film with part-time elements of a road movie. Howard and Jonathan Ford (credited as The Ford Brothers) direct this familiar and not-so-original but nevertheless exciting take on the genre of the undead, demonstrating that they can uphold the task of making a few movies in one. Their film would not have been as good as it is without the desire to dabble in all sorts of different things. When it comes to succeeding in those things, it does not always work; but the fact that it tried and failed to truly embarrass itself proves that it's a worthy edition to the genre, which has grown so tired over the years that even George Romero - the man who re-invented it some time ago - has been shelling out disappointment after disappointment. The Ford Brothers take his signature slow zombies and do something interesting - although not necessarily new - with them.

A military plane crashes somewhere in the oceans of Africa. Lt. Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) is able to make it to the nearest beach by morning, already aware of what will be waiting for him upon arrival. While in the plane, we saw another human who was severely wounded come back to life and bite another man on the hand, ripping his very flesh from the bone. It would appear that the dead are returning to life, hungry for human flesh, just as they have in some other 1000+ films. The lieutenant held on to a crate that contained guns and ammunition throughout his trip from the water to the shore, and he uses these tools to defend himself until he can find other forms of civilization. He comes across a village, where one of the other establishing scenes takes place. The zombies, as slow as they are, can still cause a lot of havoc; we see fires, dead bodies everywhere, and people getting bitten in spite of their ability to run faster than these...things.

While exploring the abandoned village, the Lieutenant finds another survivor; an African soldier named Daniel (Prince David Osei), who is searching for his son (who could have either died or escaped at this point). They team up so that they may survive using their collective weapons and ammunition, although the places they go are always swarming with the undead, and those who are alive are nowhere to be found. But, as can be expected, the more they search, the more they find. Eventually they'll have to run into others who have been just as fortunate - if not more, or less - as they are. You can see where the plot is going from a mile away. But what wasn't ingeniously designed plot-wise was translated to mood and a spectacularly high body count of zombies. And that's exactly what horror fans want.

A lot of the film was shot in Burkina Faso, and already we come to what is perhaps the film's one truly unique and distinctive feature. One of the brothers - Jon - was the cinematographer and did an excellent job filling in that role. "The Dead" was shot, to my knowledge, on 35mm film and mostly on-location; so the sense of realism is 100% there. The scenery is beautiful even though horrible, violent things happen in the wilderness surrounding the worthwhile sights, and the film pays a lot of attention to the heat and the sand, perhaps hoping to establish a sort of post-apocalyptic aesthetic. The Brothers could have made an attempt to render their film a zombie part-time Western flick, although they don't seem to have big ideas or intentions. They are building upon things that have already been laid out and set in stone, but what they do with these things is what counts. You've got a movie that essentials looks and feels really good, with two solid central performances and an abundance of gore to please the blood-hounds in the audience. Maybe it's just me, but I found it all to be kind of badass.

The Ford Brothers never lose sight of the human story that is at the center of their film, even if it could have used a little more seasoning and development. The two main characters roam around on their own for a little bit before meeting up, but once they do, there's some real chemistry; even if it's mostly discreet. Don't expect many humorous scenes between the two, as this is one of those dead serious zombie flicks, but what you should expect is that they will make a good team; which they kind of do. If they are to part ways, they do not hope to know one another ever again. They treat kicking zombie ass like a business; not a partnership. They are not friends, nor really acquaintances; just people in a wasteland full of the mentally inhuman. This may not be enough "depth" to satisfy those viewers in search of deeper meaning and philosophy, and the film might work best with the hardcore zombie fanatics exclusively; but "The Dead" will someday find an audience that respects and enjoys it as much as I did, and it will deserve those people about as much as they deserve it.
manofthemovie16
June 6, 2012
THE DEAD is a fresh yet somewhat plodding zombie film based in the wide expanse of Africa. From the lesser-known writer/director team the Ford Brothers, THE DEAD is an efficient horror film when it comes to delivering the zombie attacks and realistic gore along with believable characters. The narrative flounders from location A to location B and so forth without much substance, however.

The constant threat of zombie attacks does create good suspense, but on the other hand the zombie attacks begin to feel repetitive and the immersion factor gradually fades away. It doesn't help matters that the pacing fluctuates from a solid, fast pace when the zombies come in to a plodding, boring pace when there is no dialogue present and the characters just move/drive towards the next point.

THE DEAD has the honor of being the first zombie film to shoot anywhere in Africa, for whatever reason why. The Ford Brothers have brought a new take the undead genre with a new setting and requisitely gory zombie attacks and their aftermaths in parallel to the continent's recent and past massacres from disease and war. There were openings for direct social commentary in THE DEAD, but the Ford Brothers smartly and safely downplayed the commentary in order for the social commentary parallels to be implicated for the viewer's own interpretation instead of directly preached at the viewer instead.

Efficient scripting can also be found through the film's believable characters, whose motivations for living are slightly more complex than saving others or holding out hope for their loved ones to still be alive. The camerawork captures some nice and recurring moments, from the gorgeous sunsets and even zombie feet shuffling by an object of interest or right by a hidden character in panning movements.

When it comes to narrative, however, THE DEAD is slim pickings. The narrative barely moves beyond the partnership between the film's protagonist, an American flight engineer, and his new-found survivor buddy Daniel, who left the area's militants to find his son after his home village was attacked. Still, there is no real narrative arcs in the story, except for two key scenes. Besides these, the story still maintains the point A-point B mentality that can be distract from the engaging partnership between the two survivors.

The American has a family back home, and so this mutual connection of family he and Daniel both feel tied to drives them forward. The characters' motivations for staying alive is hope, hope in their families and for their lives. This is what can keep a viewer watching, and it did so for me. Even though the actor playing the American was very stiff and only so often emotive, the actor playing Daniel fit the part just right and I could root/sympathize for his characters' plight and journey. There is closure at the end as well, in a sense.

In summary, THE DEAD is an efficient zombie horror film featuring plenty of zombie attacks and realistic gore to satisfy horror fans while also displaying believable characters whose motivations are clear and hopeful, all in the new setting for the genre in Africa. The Ford Brothers camerawork is swift and creative, but the somewhat plodding pace, a few instances of bad editing, and the point A-point B mentality of the barely-there story hinder THE DEAD from being an excellent zombie film. As mentioned before, it is efficient, and I suppose that will be enough for horror fans to make a cult favorite out of it.
June 6, 2012
a nice entry in the zombie fiction series, although it is somewhat of a drag watching two men trek the African countryside killing zombies, over, and over, and over again. more intellectually stimulating dialogue and a stronger story would have made this an instant classic.
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