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quietearth [Film Festival 09.30.10] post apocalyptic zombies movie review



Year: 2010
Directors: Howard J. Ford & Jonathan Ford
Writers: Howard J. Ford & Jonathan Ford
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: rochefort
Rating: 8 out of 10

The zombie apocalypse is going down again, this time in the wilds of Africa. During a panicked attempt to escape the viral outbreak that is transforming Africans into flesh-eating undead, Military engineer Brian Murphy's (Rob Freeman) plane crashes on the African coast, and he's the sole survivor. As he heads inland in search of a working plane to take him back to his family in the States, he meets Daniel (Prince David Oseia), an AWOL African soldier in search of his missing son, and the two band together to rescue Daniel's boy and get out while they still can.


Part "Dawn of the Dead", part "Walkabout", Howard and Jonathan Ford's new zombie opus, shot on location in Burkina Faso and Ghana, is a genuinely distinctive addition to the zombie canon. The zombies in question are the traditional undead type, shufflers not runners, and the old reliable checklist is in place: shoot 'em in the head; keep quiet or they'll soon swarm you. The main survival priorities are to always keep moving, always keep one eye open, and don't get bitten or you'll soon join their ranks. The filmmakers are playing in Romero's backyard, obviously and unashamedly, and are so consistent with the long-established tropes of the original "Dead" series that it's no problem at all to assume that the events here are taking place in the same universe. It's the setting that's key. The decision to transplant events (and creatures) that we typically associate with a cabin in the woods or an urban environment into the plains and mountains of the African countryside succeeds like gangbusters, so strong an element that it easily carries the film through a small handful of weaker spots.

After an opening that features two superb, back-to-back sequences depicting zombie carnage first in Brian's plane and then in Daniel's village, it's not long before the two leads meet and the journey begins. Daniel is the more distinguished soldier of the two, but Brian is good with machines, so it's a matter of minutes before they work out how mutually beneficial they might be for each other. From there on it's pretty much a road movie, or rather a treacherous dirt road movie, as Brian and Daniel cope with fatigue, forage for gas and water, and deal with the usual assortment of duties and routines that transform from dull to compelling when placed into a convincing post-apocalyptic scenario. Of the two, Oseia's portrayal of the soldier who puts family before duty is the more immediately appealing, as Freeman is tasked with a more nondescript everyman role for much of the runtime. And while there are a couple of brief exchanges wherein Daniel chides white America (and Brian) for its hypocritical relationship to Africa, the sermons are quick and don't overwhelm their slowly-developing friendship. Neither character is written with a lot of unnecessary drama, since the Ford Brothers are smart enough to not crowd the tour of zombie Africa with hot-air character conflict. Brian wants to get back to his family and so does Daniel, and that's all the motivation either of them really needs.

"The Dead"'s third and just as important character is, obviously, Africa itself. The bush, the dry plains, mountains and deserts are beautifully shot, and there seems to be at least a handful of the walking undead shuffling around in every new environment. The lasting effect is a weird, compelling mix, as desolate, near lifeless locales come strangely alive due to the undead horrors that kick up dust in each one. In a way, it's all entirely fitting: the zombie is ideally equipped to thrive in these vast and arid zones that tend to challenge all but even the most basic lifeforms, and any human unlucky enough to need to travel through is soon faced with the realization that in the most unforgiving places, the zombie has the home field advantage. Further proof that the zombie movie is far from played out, "The Dead" will likely do more than just give zombie fans a quick fix; this one will end up on a lot of shelves reserved for the top tier.

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DBW (8 years ago) Reply

two reviews

http://www.quietearth.us/articles/2010/09/02/FRIGHTFEST-2010-Review-of-THE-DEAD

way to be balanced

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Jay Shatzer (8 years ago) Reply

Great Review! Much better then the first one you guys put up. I'm really looking forward to seeing this one. Zombies rule and it's good to here that this film is sticking to Romero's playbook while placing the story in an interesting location that hasn't been used yet in the zombie film genre.

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spica (8 years ago) Reply

An interview with Rob Freeman (Lt. Brian Murphy in The Dead) - http://blog.cineight.com/the-dead-a-look-inside-the-mind-of-lt-brian-m

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saintt leeroy wolf snr (8 years ago) Reply

we love this movie .. cant wait to seee it Ghana is ready to seee PRINCE DAVID

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looks (8 years ago) Reply

Awful acting , stupid plot, africa overrun by zombies GOOD now we can stop watching there crap movies.


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