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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zombie movies go back to their classic roots
While there has undoubtedly been a resurgence of the zombie genre in the last decade, there have been a lot of flops that threaten to end this resurgence quicker than a zombie outbreak in a built up area. One franchise that sticks out like a sore thumb is the Resident Evil series, or as I call it "an exercise in showing the director's girlfriend Milla Jovovich in as many...
Published on 21 Nov 2011 by C. Fletcher

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth A Look
The highly original idea of a zombie film in Africa allows for terrific settings and this movie makes full use of them. It is beautifully shot. I liked the fact that it wasn't a simple gore-fest and the tension was built on the sense of impending disaster. The problems I had though were that the plot was not that great and I didn't feel engaged enough to care about the...
Published on 2 Sep 2012 by David Sandilands


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zombie movies go back to their classic roots, 21 Nov 2011
By 
C. Fletcher - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
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While there has undoubtedly been a resurgence of the zombie genre in the last decade, there have been a lot of flops that threaten to end this resurgence quicker than a zombie outbreak in a built up area. One franchise that sticks out like a sore thumb is the Resident Evil series, or as I call it "an exercise in showing the director's girlfriend Milla Jovovich in as many over-the-top action shots as possible....plus zombies...at times". Films like this simply do not appeal to me, but then again maybe I'm not the target audience - which is presumably pimply teenagers who can't cope with complex plots and scenes that don't involve explosions every 30 seconds.

Fortunately, The Dead takes a slightly more subtle approach and charts the attempt at survival by two main characters as they trek through a zombie infested Africa. Much of the film focuses on the journey to an airbase - which offers hope of an escape together with the promise of reuniting one of the characters with his son. Throughout this time they must work together to battle the scattered undead as well as the harsh African environment. Realistic issues such as whether they should use the last of their water in their vehicle or as drinking water are typical of the subtle drama that features in this film. As for the zombies themselves, they are the classic "shambling" type seen most commonly in Romero movies, and they create a suitable amount of growing dread as they converge on the two men. As with most successful horror films, it doesn't need buckets of blood to be scary - just seeing a blurred group of zombies in the distance creates a constant feeling of fear and a reminder that the characters cannot risk stopping in any one place for more than a few minutes. The acting is excellent, conveying a hint of emotion without going overboard, and the plot is sound (but perhaps not hugely ambitious). In short, this is a film that goes back to what made zombie movies great in the first place and is all the better for it. Fans of the genre (and horror in general) shouldn't hesitate to purchase.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended even to people who don't like zombie movies, 15 Nov 2011
By 
Ian Williams "ianw" (Sunderland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
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Despite having watched more zombie movies than I feel I should have, I still can't understand why they are so popular. Basically a zombie is this: shambling rotting corpses, catch people, eat them. And a zombie movie isn't much more than that, except it centres round a group of people of whom most, if not all, will either become zombies or zombie food by the end of the movie. Zombies don't have the versatility of vampires or werewolves who can range from predatory monsters to tragic romantic and sexualised (anti)heroes -see Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula for all that in one movie. Zombies, however, are pretty boring monsters and most zombie movies don't transcend my description above.

And it's all George Romero's fault. Until Night of The Living Dead, zombies never ate anyone. They (and they were mostly black) just did as they were told by their master. The only partial exception to that rule was Hammer's Plague Of Zombies which can be read as a dig at Britain's class structure.

Until George Romero who established new rules and can be directly blamed for the all the cheap and really really bad movies made by anyone who thinks he (and it is pretty much all `he's') can make a movie and end up proving they can make a really really bad one. All you need are some amateur actors, basic equipment, and a friendly butcher.

It's not as if zombies are used much as metaphors (Romero, and Plague of Zombies excepted). All most makers of zombie movies want to do is appeal to gore fans by showing as much human decay and getting as much human insides outside as possible.

Luckily The Dead is a rare exception. For a start it's set in an un-named African country which seems to consist mostly of semi-arid scrubland. Murphy, our protagonist is the sole survivor of the last flight out when the plane crashes into the sea. Managing to get to shore he begins a journey to find some kind of aircraft to use to get home. On his way he teams up with an African soldier who's searching for his son whom he believes has been taken to a place of refuge in the north. They travel, initial wariness slowly building into friendship, either on foot or in a dilapidated through sun-baked arid land littered with dismembered corpses and where the shambling, shuffling, unsleeping dead are never very far away.

This is a very powerful and well-made film. The constant threat of the dead is ever-present and there are very few scenes where the tension is lifted. The gore factor is high but it never seems gratuitous primarily because the camera never lingers. The editing is very tight as it cuts quickly away from horrific images. There a few scares but you can pretty much see them coming such as when Murphy goes into the dark basement of an abandoned building or peers into darkened huts. We never find out why this is happening though the soldier suggests that it's the earth cleansing itself, which is as good an explanation as any.

This isn't just that rare thing, a good zombie movie, it's a good movie full stop.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Having no big stars helps the realism, 12 Dec 2013
By 
robert stirling (tarn,s.w.france) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
A lot of people watch zombie films to be frightened or to have a bit of a laugh knowing that this is a fantasy genre in the cinema: zombies don't really exist,they're a figment of the imagination that is fed by successive directors/producers and even amateur film makers with the object of making money from us,the public.

This film is so well done you almost believe it could have happened.The gore is very realistic,the trauma very much like scenes from a road accident or a shooting outrage.

It's not over the top,just horribly realistic.

The film is set in rural Africa:there are no supermarkets to plunder for food and not much in the way of transport.It's totally different from George A. Romero's Trilogy of the Dead [DVD] or 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later [DVD].

The Ford brothers have successfully given the film the feeling of isolation from civilization,and this adds to the uniqueness of the production.

Even if you're not a zombie film fan(I am not)this has much to offer.As in some of Romero's films the actors here are largely unknown and have done an excellent job handling their roles.It's certainly worth a watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Get) Out Of Africa, 16 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Dead [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A zombie apocalypse film not set in big cities was a refreshing change not seen since Zombie Flesh Eaters I suppose. The film is set in Africa and the scenery is stunning.
The story follows an army engineer trying to find a way out of Africa after the plane he was on crashed and left him stranded. Along the way he meets an African soldier who has deserted his unit to search for his son. We then watch how they deal with the threat of the zombies in which we are constantly reminded of by the fact that nearly everywhere they go a zombie is not far away. These are the slow plodding zombies like Romero's rather than fast running types. They are still a threat because unless you saw them first you wouldn't know they were upon you until it was too late. But it's not just the zombies that are the problem, food, water and ammunition are in short supply, There are no supermarkets to loot.
The two leads don't say much but to be fair they look beat. It must have been baking out in that heat, constantly aware of the dread that surrounds them.
I thought that overall The Dead was very enjoyable, a bit slow paced but I was still glued to the screen. There are no have-a-go hero's like resident evil and no red neck good ol boy aiming for zombie kill of the week. This is played as straight as it can and has a real sense of hopelessness as they travel across the country to their destination.
May not be to the taste of some because of the pacing but any zombie fan who likes the old school films could probably relate to what they have done here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zombies, Road Trip Semi Gore Fest, 26 Oct 2011
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
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This is the first Zombie road movie shot in Africa - the cover proclaims so does that make it special? Well actually yes. Its basis is that the last evacuation plane leaves a war ravaged Africa, but crashes. The only real survivor is American engineer Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Rob freeman). He gets washed up on to the coast, where a contagion has spread that has reanimated the dead and turned them into - you can guess - flesh eating Zombies.

He has to use his wits and engineering skills to evade the ever growing number of slow moving killers. There is as second plot of one Sergeant Daniel Dembele (prince David Osei)his village has been attacked by un the dead, and his wife taken, his only son has managed to escape with the rather ineffective soldiery. He thinks he must have gone to the army stronghold in the North, and decides to head there. Along the way their paths cross and they join forces. This then is the story of their trip across a barren but beautiful landscape. They can not use the roads as they are either blocked or crawling with Zombies.

They are thus confined to the bush in their battered Peugeot pick up. The Dead seem to be behind every tree and bush and the tension does not let up for one minute. There are some flash backs and dream sequences of a time before, but most of this unfolds in the present. There is gore and shooting right from the start and throughout, so for horror fans this is just what the Witch Doctor ordered. There is also a lot of thought and intelligence, so not just another mindless slasher fest. That said the Zombies are all rather convincing, and this is one you will not want to have a snack whilst watching, as the scenes are brutally realistic, but not over the top.

One of my thoughts was that if Zombies can't run they don't half get about quick. This is a film from the Ford brothers, Howard and Jonathan and I feel they have taken a quite tired genre and breathed some new life into it (that is probably a paradox within a pun - sorry). It runs for 101 minutes and has a `making of' in the extras, deleted scenes and interviews with the cast and crew. Whilst horror is only a genre I dip into every now and then I am always pleased to see a new angle and good, convincing acting, this does that by the spade load and adds a great dollop of pathos to boot, so really I quite strongly recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic old school zombie flick, 9 Nov 2011
By 
Mr. L. Moreland (Winnersh,Berks, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
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The Dead is the best zombie horror I have seen for ages! Sure, 'The Horde' and 'survival of the dead' were good offerings, but this film wipes the floor with them!

Based in a war-torn African country, a sole survivor of an American Air Force evacuation flight must try and stay alive. With the help of a local army officer who is looking for his son, they travel through the inhospitable landscape and fight off the never ending horde of zombies roaming the land.

The zombies are old fashioned 'Night of the living dead' and 'Dawn of the dead' style with their slow walking relentless pursuit. There is a real sense of tension to the film and genuine scares, even for those seasoned horror buffs, and of course lots of gore!

The special features are fantastic. There is a extremely well informed and interesting commentary from the 2 brother directors, a thorough and comprehensive 'making of' (detailing what an awful time was had trying to make it!)' interviews from cast and crew and a deleted scene.

If you are a horror fan then you will love this film, if you are a zombie horror fan - BUY THIS FILM NOW!!!!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth A Look, 2 Sep 2012
By 
David Sandilands "DSNet" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
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The highly original idea of a zombie film in Africa allows for terrific settings and this movie makes full use of them. It is beautifully shot. I liked the fact that it wasn't a simple gore-fest and the tension was built on the sense of impending disaster. The problems I had though were that the plot was not that great and I didn't feel engaged enough to care about the lead characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent Zombie flick, 17 Nov 2011
By 
Grr "Gumbo" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
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Setting a zombie film in middle Africa has two major benefits: Firstly, it is a pretty original idea (I can't think of another though am sure they exist) so it draws attention to itself which in its overcrowded genre is no small feat. Secondly, the often stunning locations can mask a multitude of sins, particularly low budget limitations.

I liked this film overall. Don't get me wrong, this is no masterpiece but it is a very entertaining Zombie flick that attempts to do something a little different in a rather tired genre. The film makers should be applauded for that. However the film also has some rather disappointing flaws.

The good points including some sensitive use of the African landscapes, well photographed throughout, a nicely built up sense of dread as random scenes play out there always seems to be a zombie or two on the horizon! I also liked that the horror staple of defaulting to gore was not overplayed. There was gore but not all the time.

My gripes would be that the script was quite clunky and the characters sometimes muddled or poorly drawn. I was disappointed that more African characters weren't developed, for a film set in Africa it was a bit of a shame. Also, I hated the ending. Hated it. A real shame as the film had done really rather well up until then.

Overall, for a low budget shcloker, this punches above its weight and is well worth a punt for genre fans. A decent, if not great, film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shambling along like a good'un, 6 Nov 2011
By 
Taliesin_ttlg (Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
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The Dead is a shambling zombie flick, and I have to say it is a welcome return to the shambling zombie. Whilst peril is certainly higher within the running zombie/infected genres there is a tension in the inexorable creep of the undead masses and this flick does not disappoint in that department.

The zombies are mindless barrels of appetite, reacting to stimuli (sight or sound) and shuffling their way towards the target. The targets, in this case, are American engineer Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) - a man who failed to make the evacuation out of zombie plagued Africa when his plane went down - and local soldier Daniel Dembele (Prince David Osei). Okay, some of the acting is less than brilliant... but it's a zombie flick and I have seen much worse, believe me. The main star of the film, however, is the location, By moving the zombie apocalypse out of the normal city based locale and placing it in the African plains the film achieves a notable distinction to its rivals.

In the end, if you want a shambling zombie film then it is worth your time, you know what you are going to get and you get it in a setting unusual for the genre and rather beautiful. The only complaint would be the final scenes, where the filmmakers seemed to fizzle out and not be sure what they wanted to do. So, why only three stars? Because you are getting a shambling zombie film, it won't redefine the genre, make you wonder about the meaning of life or move you to tears or laughter. It will, however, make for an evening of zombie entertainment.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a PROPER zombie movie., 15 Oct 2011
By 
I Am Tyler Durden (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
Whilst I am a lover the tongue in cheek, dispatch them in amusing ways type of zombie movie (which is definitely the way Romero has been going), this harks back to the bleak apocalyptic style that packs so much more punch. So real in the execution that I was barely aware of any acting going on, it was more like watching horrifying reality. All the make-up and effects looked real and being set in such an unusual location lent the whole thing an air of the unknown and dread. Fans of things like Resident Evil will not like the lack of slam bang action but if you like the original Dawn Of The Dead or 28 days later I think you will be gripped, there plenty of intense and gory scenes. The jump frights are genuinely "throw you back in you seat in terror" moments rather then "make you jump then giggle" types. Beautifully shot from start to finish and very powerful. Well done to everyone involved and thanks for such a brilliant ending that actually made me gasp with emotion.
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The Dead [DVD]
The Dead [DVD] by Jonathan Ford (DVD - 2011)
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