The Dead Lands

2015

The Dead Lands

Critics Consensus

The Dead Lands doesn't add anything new to the primeval quest genre, but its battle scenes boast enough visceral thrills to carry viewers through the more mundane moments.

69%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 51

56%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,218
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Movie Info

Hongi (James Rolleston) - a Maori chieftain's teenage son - must avenge his father's murder in order to bring peace and honor to the souls of his loved ones after his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery. Vastly outnumbered by a band of villains, led by Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka), Hongi's only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious "Warrior" (Lawrence Makoare), a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years. (C) Magnolia

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News & Interviews for The Dead Lands

Critic Reviews for The Dead Lands

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (16)

  • The Dead Lands is a journey...one that the majority of American audiences will be introduced to for the first time. While this is a Māori story, it's one that will have quickly fans from genre lovers all backgrounds with its mythology, action...

    January 21, 2020 | Full Review…
  • It's the same old ride, just packaged in a more interesting way, and for that reason The Dead Lands can only offer minor pleasures.

    June 6, 2019 | Rating: 6.5/10 | Full Review…
  • The bruises and path may be familiar, but The Dead Lands does enough to seem fresh and grips throughout.

    April 5, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Ben Nicholson

    CineVue
    Top Critic
  • It's in te reo but The Dead Lands never feels like it's trying too hard to say anything important. All the same, it may well become a very important film.

    May 23, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It certainly makes viewers reluctant to hassle anyone carrying a patu with authority, which is something the film can hang its hat on.

    May 20, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

    Joe Bendel

    Epoch Times
    Top Critic
  • Situating death as the catalyst to action whereby legends, apparitions and spirits mobilize the command to vengeance, Fraser's narrative teems and trounces with relentless bloodshed, slaughter, violence and gore.

    May 12, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Dead Lands

  • Sep 14, 2015
    One of the things I like most about watching films from all around the world is the fact that you get to learn about all types of different cultures and how different directors approach filmmaking. I don't know why this film made me think of that, but it certainly did. It's not like I haven't seen films like this before, I may not have seen a lot of them, but it's not something that is unfamiliar to me, so I've no idea why this film brought this out. I digress, however, as this movie did end up being pretty good. It's not like it offers anything new or that inventive to this particular genre, but I did think that the action sequences were actually really good and surprisingly violent. I do think that the film's narrative, while simple and somewhat effective, might be a little bit too dull for some to follow. Hongi's tribe is gruesomely murdered by a rival tribe. Hongi seeks help from a fearsome warrior they call a demon, who has a real dark past, to avenge his village. Hongi and the Warrior, of course, at first start out having a contentious relationship, like every mentor/student film ever made. Of course, as the film progresses, respect starts to build between the two as the Warrior helps Hongi learn about what it really means to be a warrior. It's pretty much every mentor/student film ever made. And that's probably where the film is at its weakest points. It just plays pretty much exactly like you'd expect and I think that predictability, while the film is still good, keeps the film from reaching an even higher level. With that said, I will say that Lawrence Makoare, who plays the Warrior/Demon/whatever you wanna call him, does a great job with his character in this film. Lawrence is a man who's known for playing orcs in the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit franchises, you would, wrongly, assume that he doesn't have the acting chops to carry such a tortured character. But, you know what, he does a real good job with this character and everything that he's going through on an emotional level. It's not like he's Daniel Day-Lewis or anything close to an elite-level actor, but he was really good in this movie. And, of course, he also has the physical presence in order to look and act the part of someone who's supposed to be this terrifying figure. This is a good movie honestly, I just think that the narrative needed a lot more work done in order for it to match up to how good the action sequences are. I'd certainly recommend it if only for the action sequences, the narrative needed some work, but it's not horrible or anything like that. It gets the job done, it gets you from point A to point B suitably enough. Good film and I'd definitely recommend it as a Netflix watch.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Apr 08, 2015
    True that the story is predictable to a fault but by presenting us a very fresh approach to the action revenge genre, The Dead Lands manages to be entertaining even if some of these mannerisms come off a bit flat at times and the actors don't help to sell it much, asides from The Warrior and the evil dude's side kick. All in all, you could compare this to Apocalypto but a bit more straightforward and with a predictable structure until the end.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer

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