The Dead (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/09/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

The Dead has spectacular landscapes and a refreshingly old-school approach to its zombies, but it's hampered by a repetitive script, some accompanying pacing issues and an underwhelming lead performance from Rob Freeman.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by the Ford Brothers (Howard J Ford and Jon Ford), The Dead is a zombie movie that takes place in the West African desert. After a plague of zombies sweep across Africa, engineer Brian (Rob Freeman) winds up on the last evacuation plane to Europe, but when his plane nosedives into the desert, he gets a crash course in how to survive a zombie apocalypse (clue: always put one in the brain).

Dodging zombies as he attempts to make his way out of the desert and back to his wife and child (Katy Richardson and Fae Ford-Brister), Brian eventually teams up with Daniel (Prince David Osei), a local soldier who's searching for his son (Gaal Hama). Along the way, they receive help from the chief (David Dontoh) of a tribe of survivors, but the relentless zombie hordes are never far away.

The Good
In terms of originality, the main thing that The Dead has going for it is the setting, as the spectacular African landscapes are beautifully shot by cinematographers Jon Ford and Jonathan Ford. Similarly, the zombie make-up effects are extremely well done, gaining extra strength from being understated, while the gore effects are superb, considering the obviously low budget.

The film also deserves praise for its refreshingly old-fashioned zombies – there are no “zoombies” or radical free-thinking zombies here, just the familiar shuffle-and-bite variety.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is the script, which is low on dialogue and quickly becomes repetitive, with Brian and Daniel surviving one encounter after another, to the point where they start to blur into one. Similarly, the pace slows to a crawl in the second half of the film and Imran Ahmad's score is a little too in-your-face to be properly effective.

On top of that, Freeman delivers a fairly underwhelming, inexpressive performance as Brian (which is as much the fault of the script's minimal dialogue approach) and it's difficult to emotionally engage with his character as a result.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Dead deserves praise for the originality of its setting and for pulling off some impressive zombie and gore effects on its tiny budget, but it's let down by an underwritten script and a lacklustre performance from Rob Freeman.

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Content updated: 20/09/2018 08:47

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