The Dead

The movies of 2010 still live
Howl
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The Dead

Post by Howl » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:26 pm

Funny that the two films I saw at FrightFest were road movies, one being Monsters and the other The Dead, they made for a fun road movie double bill.

Anyway, The Dead...

Having become thoroughly bored by the mainstream success of the zombie genre I didn’t think I would see another zombie film that I would enjoy in the way I used to, back when a zombie movie felt gritty, dirty and frightening.

The Dead went somewhat back to the vibe I used to get when watching zombie movies, it had a certain Italian vibe to it with its hot dirty setting and ethnic zombies that looked and acted like a zombie (remember when a zombie was a ‘zombie ’ (a walking corpse that barely registers the world around it) and not just snarling fancy dress performers).

The movie gets off to a dramatic flying start with a doomed aeroplane loaded with refugees attempting to escape Africa, during a zombie threat aboard the aeroplane the aircraft ditches into the sea off the coast of Africa. A tense beach scene with the creepiest zombies seen this side of Zombie Flesh Eaters had me finally thinking I was watching a real zombie film again.
What follows is a road journey through Africa with two survivors attempting to reach a military base whilst trying to keep their jeep on the road and surviving the constant threat of walking dead.

The film does have a few problems; there are too many moments with the survivor’s jeep getting stuck, breaking down, over heating etc whilst seemingly driving through the same bit of African scrub, the occasional crane or helicopter shot would have helped establish the locations now and again but these type of establishing shots were probably too expensive for what was probably a very tight budget). The script could have been better as there are one or two clunky bits of dialogue as well as some odd character decisions (a debate about the merits of having the jeep’s lights on at night and not attracting the dead then results in a camp fire been lit which does the exact same thing with the characters both falling asleep even with their tin can alarm!). These scenes could have been handled a little better and had me shaking my head in disbelief.

BUT the setting, the zombies, the atmosphere and individual scenes and moments kept my attention (even when there was danger of losing it at times) and I have to take my hat off to the directors for trying something that took its subject matter seriously and producing something that felt more Romero than Romero (these days). Be prepared for some pacing issues and an occasional clunky script and you’ll be in for a good night of old school zombie goodness!

I look forward to the sequel and seeing this film once again on Bluray.

Cheers.

jonbly
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Re: The Dead

Post by jonbly » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:28 am

Good stuff, and it sounds as though the team really put a lot of hard work into this one. The zombies looked great and most of the film worked well. Unfortunately, it was let down by a couple of lumps of cheese at the end - first the radio message, and then the closing shot of man and boy... don't just stand there posing, run, dammit! It left jonbly feeling not hope as intended, but despair.

7/10

markR
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Re: The Dead

Post by markR » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:29 am

Yep, that radio message ruined it for me too! Otherwise a great zombie flick.

Howl
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Re: The Dead

Post by Howl » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:18 am

Ditto on the radio scene, I did hear a burst of laughter go up in the cinema during that moment. It was almost as bad as the radio scene at the end of Zombie Flesh Eaters (but not quite)! It would have been better if they hadn't shown the actual (very cheap looking) American HQ which jolted the viewers out of the reality and the grounding of the marvelous African setting and just had a distorted voice over the radio giving a similar exposition which would have been creepier too.

If the guys are to make a Dead 2 they really need to tighten up and polish the scripting and pacing side of things as this film certainly showed a lot of potential.

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Re: The Dead

Post by The Aylmer » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:24 pm

Howl wrote:Ditto on the radio scene, I did hear a burst of laughter go up in the cinema during that moment. It was almost as bad as the radio scene at the end of Zombie Flesh Eaters (but not quite)!
Actually I thought that was why they put that bit in there, as a nod to the final moments of Zombie Flesh Eaters which seemed to have a huge influence over much of the movie. The look, feel, slow moving zombies, and excellent gore effects all had more than a touch of Fulci about them. And there were certainly moments inspired by Dawn of the Dead, even as far back as 1943's I Walked With A Zombie. The directors are obviously massive fans of zombie films. It had faults admittedly. The whole thing with saving that baby just to immediately hand it over to a conveniently passing truck seemed a bit pointless (would have been more interesting to see him running about fighting off the undead with a baby under his arm... a zombie Hard Boiled if you like), and as others have said the ending didn't quite work as intended. But otherwise I thought this was great stuff.

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Re: The Dead

Post by GeorgeCaplin » Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:36 pm

Very impressed with the general overaly story, as I wasn't expecting alot from this one. A very good little zombie movie the only gripe was the clunky radio ending, also when the man looking for his son (was it daniel) and the 'town mayor' were talking in front of the fire, the lighting effect and timing of the fire was too distracting and automated, but that's just being picky.

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Re: The Dead

Post by streetrw » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:28 pm

Enjoyed it a lot - it immediately became one of my favourites. I like my zombie films, I like movies based around Africa, so what wasn't to like in a zombie film shot in Africa? In the event, it's perhaps a bit thin and a bit repetetive, but it worked for me. Perhaps the sight of the American command towards the end wasn't necessary, but that's being picky.
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Re: The Dead

Post by Reanimator » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:40 pm

A good idea setting the film in Africa - made for a slightly different take on the zombie genre - very enjoyable and recommended

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Re: The Dead

Post by deathwish3 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:41 pm

Absolutely the best film i have seen in ages, so different to anything out there!!!!!!

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Re: The Dead

Post by MaxRenn » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:57 am

I'm a bit non-plussed by the very positive reactions to this one, as apart from a West African setting it seemed like a run-of-the-mill zombie movie to me. The film suffered from pacing issues (another trip to the edit suite would sort this out) and an uncharismatic lead. Also the radio message was terrible, and unnecessary in plot terms. If it was a homage to Zombie Flesh Eaters then it was a stupid move as it broke the mood of the film.
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Re: The Dead

Post by Wolfshade » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:39 pm

I liked this, great to see a serious zombie flick for once, I'm bored with every zombie film being a campy slapstick thing these days, this was a nice change cos it was so grim, bleak and desolate. It was a bit rickety at the start and took a little while to get going, but once it got into its stride, it was great.

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Re: The Dead

Post by Bearded Avenger » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:29 pm

Definately an issue with pacing. It was like the Lord of the Rings take in Clerks 2. Walk a bit, shoot a zombie, drive a bit, shoot a zombie, repeat.

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Re: The Dead

Post by devilishzombie » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:23 pm

I think the slow vibe really worked for the film, the slow moving zombies added to the feel of the movie, it was a 'beautiful' looking film which was very unique, also have to say the special effects were horrific as they had such a realism to them not like some of that big budget over the top CGI heads flying through the air feel! 5 star for me!

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Re: The Dead

Post by nagelfar » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:43 pm

Bearded Avenger wrote:Definately an issue with pacing. It was like the Lord of the Rings take in Clerks 2. Walk a bit, shoot a zombie, drive a bit, shoot a zombie, repeat.
You forgot the "talk about your problems" part in between ;)
Otherwise I totally agree, good locations (not enough overview shot to give a sense of the vastness they had to cover), nice zombies (loved the white eyes), believable motivation.
Unfortunatly, this one turned bad in the last third.
First we got the car crash with the "turn off the lights, they attract zombies" moment, followed by a jump scare followed by the characters setting up a bonfire and going to sleep without anyone keeping watch and just some stupid can alarm set up. Surprising enough one of them gets killed, who would have thought?!
Then our hero arrives at the army base, not until he climbs some rocks though, which apparently not even the nomads of the region are able to cross? He does it easily enough apparently.
Arrives at the base, slaughters hundreds of zombies in Rambo style (do all army engineers get shooting training?!) scales the walls and escape to safety (so he thinks). Of course there is a radio but NONE of the apparently hundreds of survivors there is able to repair/handle it. Cut to an A-Team like montage of our hero fixing the radio with a soldering iron *GGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAH*
Of course the Zombies have been kept off by the unclimbable walls for days, perhaps even weeks, but as soon as our hero is in there the walls suddenly crumble like cake mix and people are killed like lambs. Before that we get a stupid radio message that, OMG, all of America is overrun by Zombies (what kind of radio was he using to contact HQ in the US and why did he KNOW the guy on the radio by NAME and why did the guy know him and why did the guy know the heroes family was dead and why were there perfectly(!) fitting clothes and a gun in the wooden box and why was a wearing a navy uniform (I thought he was army?) and why...never mind...)
6/10

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Re: The Dead

Post by deathwish3 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:50 pm

Nagelfar, i thought it was pretty good to be honest, in terms of the camp scene it can be seen as realistic as when you are tired and hungary and emotionally drained your perception of your surroundings are always difficult to ascertain and assess correctly, this is actually a medical fact! in terms of the end bit, is it inconceivable that he was the only one who could fix the radio and the collapse of the wall, what if they had put that wall up as a temporary measure a simple few hours below? who knows, i think it is perception of the audience really. I also admired the spirit behind the film considering the cast and crew literally nearly died to make it and the great scenery was stunning! I liked it :D
cheers

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