When the last evacuation flight out of war-torn Africa crashes off the coast, American Air Force Engineer Lieutenant Brian Murphy emerges as the sole survivor in a land where the dead are returning to life and attacking the living. 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. When Murphy's path clashes with that of Sergeant Daniel Dembele, whose village has been torn apart by the reanimated dead, they join forces. The two desperate men from two very different cultures fight side by side to survive across the incredible vistas of Africa as the world succumbs to the deadliest of viruses.
At last! A 'proper' zombie film
- The Dead review by RP
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At last! A 'proper' zombie film, hordes of shambling, flesh biting, entrail ripping creatures. A few tense bits, a couple of scenes to make you jump, all photographed against a beautiful African backdrop.
The story - such as it is - goes like this: a zombie plague is sweeping Africa. The last flight out (a decrepit Douglas DC3) crashes with a single survivor. He starts off across country, meets up with a local soldier searching for his son and together they make their way to a military base where hopefully the son is to be found. Along the way they must avoid or kill many zombies. Err, that's it.
If you like the genre, you should like this. It's clearly a low budget production but is vastly better than enormously more expensive and disappointing films such as 'World War Z'.
Like its sequel The Dead 2: India (2013), Directors Howard J. and Jonathan Ford expertly refine the balance between impressive masses of the living coming at you relentlessly, and the expanse of isolated landscapes – in this case the wilds of Africa – that alternate between stark beauty and deadly wasteland.
Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman), sole survivor of a plane crash, survives meetings with many staggering blank-eyed members of the undead, and is rescued by initially resentful Sergeant Daniel Dembele (Prince David Osei), whose lone mission is to locate his son, lost in the zombie-strewn wilderness.
It is impossible not to get drawn into this maelstrom. How the zombies ever came to be is only fleetingly touched upon. It doesn’t really matter – they are there, and there are loads of them.
There were many behind-the-scenes problems when filming, doubling the initial six-week schedule. Most severely, Rob Freeman contracted malaria and was placed on an IV drip in a local hospital, which saved his life. That this critically acclaimed project was finished at all, never mind with such impressive results, is hugely impressive.
The storyline, again like its sequel, is simply around 100 minutes of what often seems like a doomed attempt to escape walking cadavers. There’s no machismo posturing, no smartass comments as yet another shambling wreck has its head blown apart. It meanders a little in the middle, but every step is taken to make sure full advantage of the landscape is used to full advantage and what emerges is very satisfying indeed.