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The Dead

A zombie horror movie directed by Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford

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Finally, After Some Years...A Really Good Zombie Survival Horror Epic!

  • Feb 16, 2012
Rating:
+4
The past few years, American zombie horror movies have since fallen into the area of mediocrity. Even the recent fan favorite “Zombieland” wasn’t all that great. Even the proclaimed zombie maestro George Romero (watch me get hate mail for this) have fallen with his “Survival of the Dead”. I looked into the pages of comic books and found the excellent zombie epic “The Walking Dead” but there really wasn’t that much in the way of cinema until the French came out with “The Horde”; and so I came searching for the next zombie epic and this is when I found the United Kingdom’s “The Dead”. I have to say the brothers Howard and Jon Ford have collaborated to bring horror fans one of the best zombie survival movies I have seen in the past 3-5 years. So why did this movie take so long to get released here in the U.S. when the mediocre “Zombies of Mass Destruction” gets released here so easily?!

   

 

When the last evacuation flight from war-torn Africa crashes off the coast of the country, Lt. Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) is one of the three survivors and is left to fend for himself. He is really having a bad day as he is forced to fight off groups upon groups of the undead who are very hungry for human flesh. But running into a local military man trying to find his son, named Daniel (Prince David Oseia) have given Murphy some hope to survive this horror. But is there really anywhere left to go in the desolate, barren sub-Saharan desert?

What I saw with “The Dead” is that it tries to do something really different. Instead of having the setting in a populated city, it brings the story in a desolate area in Africa where life is already hard enough. Also, while the majority of zombie movies focus on a group of people and we learn how they interact with one another, the direction sets its eyes on two men who are just trying to cling to some hope. Most movies also have a theme of as to how humans can become even worst than zombies since they can turn on each other, but “The Dead“ sets its eyes on clinging to one‘s humanity and how humans can stand together (this is something The Walking Dead comic series did very well, since it managed to do both).

True, the first scene of this film expressed the idea that humans can ignore each other, and this is were the setting of Africa becomes effective. The desolate landscape makes it necessary for humans to work together and so this is where this different mindset came from (the example is made with the village headed by a shaman and its Chief played by David Dontoh). The brothers Ford (who wrote and directed) was able to bring forth a dramatic narrative that made me feel for the two characters. In focusing on the two men, and observing their reactions and interactions, the director (Howard Ford) was able to bring about a realistic portrayal of helplessness and how they cling to hope. The film had remarkable devices that said a lot for Daniel and Murphy; it was able to bring forth a bond that may not be for long, and yet, they found a common ground that which they can hold on to. This is a zombie movie with realism, as the characters drove the story and we feel their emotional stress and they do what they need to survive. This is helped along by the manipulation of its atmosphere, the shots are kept in a way to express their point of view, which makes the film easily express the feeling of unease necessary for a zombie movie.

              Film Review: The Dead (2010) the dead 2010 ford brothers movie 7

             Film Review: The Dead (2010) the dead 2010 ford brothers movie 6

The film does have some plot missteps so it makes the film far from perfect. I was able to excuse those light mistakes since I was engaged in the raw humanism I was witness to. Also, the screenplay of the film is a slow-burn, so those who are expecting an energetic horror shoot ‘em up may be a little disappointed. The film carries the slow-burning ingredients that made the original “Dawn of the Dead” and classic horror films effective as it goes to its final act. The film is just oozing with humanity and on this the film is a definite success. Not to say, that it is all about drama, the film also has a lot of simple and yet incredibly suspenseful moments that stayed within its intention of realism. I loved the way the direction managed to do this with the simple set ups that happen when one is wandering in an isolated land. It was able to express that the environment can be as perilous as the zombies themselves.

The zombies in the films are shamblers and not the fast-moving ones in “28 Days Later” or [REC]. Make up is utilized to make them appear undead but they aren’t feral or rabid looking. They have the impression of humans (the zombie assault happened recently) and yet you would know that they are all wrong since they are bloodied and some have limbs missing but yet they are moving. The gore and blood effects were pretty old-fashioned and realistically simple, as the direction uses prosthetics and red ink that gave the film personality. Realism seems to be the intention of the filmmakers, and they kept things simple which is refreshing compared to the extreme make up and effects of Hollywood zombie movies.

There is a very small number of great zombie movies I have seen the past 3-5 years and “The Dead” is indeed one of them. It is so much more engaging and engrossing to see a zombie movie that is really about survival and human drama than to see the zombie comedies that have plagued us of late. The Ford brothers’ “The Dead’ is a calculated outing and the brothers knew what they wanted to do with a zombie epic.

Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]

            Film Review: The Dead (2010) the dead 2010 ford brothers movie2

                        Film Review: The Dead (2010) the dead bluray


 
 
 
Finally, After Some Years...A Really Good Zombie Survival Horror Epic! Finally, After Some Years...A Really Good Zombie Survival Horror Epic!

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February 18, 2012
Great review. I've liked some of the zombie films in recent years but this has to be one of my absolute favorites. Other than Otto; Or Up With Dead People, I can't recommend to many of them unfortunately. The Horde was decent but I wasn't in love with it per se. Good job man!!!
February 18, 2012
I thought Zombieland was just okay. I prefer Shaun of the Dead or Biozombie personally which were much more amusing to me. Still haven't seen Zombies of Mass Destruction & I'm clueless as to whether we will ever see Juan of the Dead here. Fingers crossed.
February 19, 2012
Agreed. This was a refreshing change from the usual. The only complaint about it is that it had some minor plot missteps and I had mixed feelings about having that prologue, which kinda gave one an idea as to Daniel's fate. Great film! You should skip zombies of Mass Destruction. Juan of the Dead? do tell me more.
February 28, 2012
I don't know much about Juan but I'd seen a poster of some sorts for it somewhere right around the same time I'd read about this one. The poster looks pretty amusing!
 
February 16, 2012
Sounds great man, good thing I ordered this from Vine.
February 17, 2012
I rented this last night and I just ordered the bluray from amazon. It is that damn good. You are lucky that you are still able to get movies off vine, Alex. All they are giving me these days are kitchen stuff.
February 17, 2012
Can't wait to get it man
March 15, 2012
seen it yet?
 
February 16, 2012
OOOO the pictures are gruesome - I like it! Not much into zombie movies anymore, but this sounds like it may be better than the average ones I'm used to seeing and being bored with. Thanks for the great review!!
February 17, 2012
Thanks, Brenda. I really don't blame you for not digging zombies movies that much any longer, most of them have stooped to cheap scares and a barely passable storyline. I have to tell you, this may be the best zombie movie I have seen in a really long time.
February 17, 2012
Well in that case I gotta get it!
 
1
More The Dead (film) reviews
review by . June 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****    "The Dead" possesses all the bare essentials of a zombie movie. That shouldn't be enough for it to succeed, yet here we are; with a respectable and well-made horror film with part-time elements of a road movie. Howard and Jonathan Ford (credited as The Ford Brothers) direct this familiar and not-so-original but nevertheless exciting take on the genre of the undead, demonstrating that they can uphold the task of making a few movies in one. Their film would not …
review by . October 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
ZOMBIE SURVIVAL FILM IS ONE OF TEH BETTER ONES
      THE DEAD      Zombie movies seem to be coming out like crazy over the last couple of years. And with the success of "The Walking Dead" on AMC I am sure they will continue to come out. For me personally I love it and if this film is a sign of things to come then thank you "Walking Dead". I say that because it seems like more serious zombie films are being made. Don't get me wrong I like most of the horrible ones but I love the …
review by . March 15, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
   With the success of AMC’s recent outing with a serialized zombie drama (“The Walking Dead”), there’s been a chorus of folks – critics, mostly – crowing about how interest in stories involving zombies comes and goes over the years.  I think that’s incorrect.  I, on the other hand, maintain that there’s always been an interest in zombie pictures.  Why?  Because zombies are the perfect ‘scare’ for average folks, …
Quick Tip by . October 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
This is not really a horror movie per say as it is much more a survival film and a really good one at that. I have to give credit to writer/director Ford Brothers for going with the less is more type of thinking here. Of course budget may have dictated that but still.
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Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
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