The Dead (2010)

The entire zombie genre has become as putrid, decayed and dead much like the shambling corpses they feature.  THE DEAD breathes fresh life (heh) into the genre–much like it took the British films 28 DAYS LATER and 28 WEEKS LATER to rejuvenate the genre ten years and five years prior.  This British import is the debut written, produced, and directed by the Ford brothers.  Their prior experience lies in commercials and you could not tell this by watching the film.  It is a beautifully shot film–a true rarity in the horror genre.  Part of the awe inspired by the cinematography has to be credited to the fact that this movie was filmed entirely in Africa.  

It becomes expected yet is still haunting, foreboding and terrifying.

There is no explanation given for the plague that is sweeping across the African countryside one bite at a time.  The effect is harrowing.  A beautiful expanse that is somewhat off.  The beauty is marred by the walking dead.  They roam the plains, the forests, and the deserts.  From village to village.  It is a slow building yet inexorable tide.  

It opens with the last Americans in the nation leaving on a military evacuation flight.  The flight does not make it and the sole survivor is flight engineer Lt. Brian Murphy.  He begins his journey back inland in search of a way off of the God forsaken and plagued continent and back to America. 

It ain’t Riggs and Murtaugh…

 He is saved from certain death (or undeath) by Sgt. Daniel Dembele, an African Union soldier searching for his son.  The two have a mutual distrust for each other in the beginning.  Partially, this is due to Daniel being uncertain of the reason Murphy is still in country.  They head north, Daniel agrees to help Murphy get to an air base in exchange for the vehicle Murphy had acquired.  The two develop a buddy cop kind of rapport–rocky at first though they eventually begin to look out for the other and care for them more than they do themselves.  

Murphy and Daniel head ever north towards a military base where the army is making a stand against the growing zombie horde.  As they travel closer they encounter more and more of the undead.  The constant drive is hope.  For Daniel it is hope to find his son, for Murphy it is the hope to get back to America to his wife and child.  While the constant drive is hope, the Ford Brothers hold true to the path they have started on and the end allows that some hope may be in vain.  

THE DEAD is definitely worth checking out.  The CGI effects are obvious though they are not distracting, and the practical effects are phenomenal.  The story is taut and well written and the characters are compelling.  Rob Freeman delivers a powerful understated performance and Prince David Oseia is sincere. On top of it all it looks like a National Geographic feature with zombies!

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