There was a reason I always liked Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie” more than Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” – slow moving, rotting zombies on an island seemed a lot more scary to me that some gray-painted people walking around the big mall.
“The Dead” by the Ford brothers took me 30 years back, and what an enjoyable experience it was! Now, let’s get to the details.
Plot of the film: When the last evacuation flight out of war-torn Africa crashes off the coast, American Air Force Engineer Lieutenant Brian Murphy turns out to be the only survivor.
Now, he somehow has to survive in a land where the dead return to life, and walk around, hungry for human flesh, attacking the living.
Murphy has a reason – a family, that doesn’t even know he’s still alive. But for how long? On the run in a hostile and inhospitable parched landscape, where sudden death lurks around every sun-burnished corner, Murphy has to use his wits and ingenuity if he is to get home alive to his family.
Soon, however, Murphy meets Sergeant Daniel Dembele, whose village has been torn apart by the dead (which are never called “zombies” in the movie, by the way), and the two totally different men, join forces.
Dembele has a reason to live as well – his son has reportedly been saved by a group of soldiers, so he has to find him. Two desperate men from two very different cultures fight side by side to survive…
“The Dead” has a great opening scene (won’t spoil it here), and it sets the tone for the whole movie. Aside from lots of zombies, and a couple of scenes with soldiers, there are only 2 characters in the movie, and, to me, it was a great opportunity to concentrate on them.
Plus – the absolutely stunning locations that the movie was shot at (reportedly, shot in life-threatening, never-before-seen locations in Burkina Faso, French-speaking West Africa, and Ghana, including the Sahara Desert).
There isn’t much of gore here (although there is plenty of “flesh eating” going around), believe it or not, this movie takes itself seriously, and it looks real.
As already mentioned before, this movie is similar to Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie”, but if Fulci’s masterpiece was cheesy at times, this one is not.
Among, probably last 20 zombie movies that I’ve seen lately, this one stands out. Bottom line is: if you’re a horror movie fan – see this movie, you might like it. If you’re a zombie movie fan – see this film, if you haven’t already.
“The Dead” is a breathe of fresh air for the zombie horror sub-genre, and I am sure this movie will be remembered for a long time. They could have come up with a better title though. The trailer is below.
BZFILM SCALE: 7/10
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