2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Road trip - African zombie style,
This review is from: The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
Despite the uninspired title, The Dead is a surprisingly decent zombie film. Set in Africa during the outbreak of what may or may not be a global situation, the film tells the story of two men. One is an African solider searching for his young son after his village is decimated; the other is an American engineer who's stranded after his escape plan ditches off the coast. The American wants to get back to his wife and daughter; the African wants to find his son, and any differences between the two men don't matter when put against the horror of their situation.
Zombie films do occasionally run into the over familiar territory simply because they've been with us for so long and because film makers don't seem to always know how to come up with a fresh premise. The Dead doesn't break much new ground in the genre but it still performs well with two characters the viewer can care about and empathise with. It also gives us some stunning scenery as the men travel across a ruined country (perhaps ruined continent) in their search for a way out. There are also some superbly shot scenes of the ever present zombies in the background or filling the road. The camerawork makes full use of the landscape which brings me to one of two small downsides.
Firstly, the film occasionally overdoes it with imagery. Yes, the location is gorgeous but there are moments and shots that border on the `look at us making this film, aren't we doing well?' and detract from the horror. Secondly, the odd moment of coincidental timing stretched my patience. At the risk of spoiling anything, all I'll say is I found it hard to believe a vehicle would come along soon after one of the men had a new object to carry. Ditto a particular phone call - the timing of both events was just too convenient for me.
Minor niggles aside, The Dead is a fine example of zombie horror. Great performances and characters, an amazing landscape and first rate gore. Most enjoyable family fun.
Obviously depending who your family is.