3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Review of The Dead,
This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
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The film starts by introducing you to some characters on a plane, flying out of Africa post-initial zombie breakout. Murphy, an American military engineer, is on the plane and is the sole survivor after it crashes. He washes up on shore in Burkina Faso, only to be attacked by a marauding mob of the shuffling dead. Murphy eventually meets Dembele, an African army deserter who's looking for his son, and they join forces. It all seems pretty standard-fare for this genre; a soldier and an engineer/mechanic, but what really sets it apart from other zombie films and makes it worth watching is the setting.
It's set (and filmed) in Africa and makes full use of this; with small community villages, to open expansive deserts, to remote dusty roads. This is all reflected well in the story, as it's one of desperation, despair and bleakness. It's not an action-film by any stretch of the imagination, but does have a lot of interesting plot points and doesn't rush at the relationship between Dembele and Murphy.
The scenario may not seem all that original at first glance - essentially a road trip with two opposites as they try to survive a zombie apocalypse (very much akin to Romero's Dawn of the Dead) but the fact it is set in Africa gives it something unique. I thought Rob Freeman as Murphy was slightly disappointing (although there was a reason for that...) It wasn't so much that the dialogue was too clichéd or rubbish, because it wasn't too bad, it was just the delivery occasionally irked me a little. Also, some scenes didn't completely make sense/seemed tacked on. But after watching the extras, it all makes sense!
Apparently, Freeman got malaria not long after they arrived in Africa, as did one of the directors, so considering he still managed to put in a performance at all is testimony to his determination and skill. It's also insightful as it attempts to explain in some subtle, and some not so subtle, ways just how difficult a project this was. Very interesting!
If, like me, you're a fan of the genre, it's definitely worth a watch. It's a slow, intelligent and still entertaining low budget zombie film with some beautiful scenery and plenty of gore. The make up is fantastic, the zombies are always lurking just around the corner and the plot is solid.