It's too bad people can't get a bit more creative in titling zombie films, I realize that putting some sort of 'the dead' reference in your movies title lets the watcher know that they're in for some flesh eating ghoul action. But at this point, with the myriad of weak zombie films flying at us viewers, something as pedestrian and unoriginal sounding as "The Dead" almost begs to be ignored. Luckily I had seen a trailer for this randomly some time ago, and was interested, otherwise I may not have had the chance to enjoy the pleasure this zombie gem was offering to those curious enough to watch.
The situation is a familiar one, the dead have come back to gorge on those unlucky enough to still have their lives, what's not familiar is the setting.....Western Africa, and I think that's where this movie garners a good portion of its success from. The combination of a merciless and mindless foe with the unforgiving and barren African savannah/desert make what could have very well been 'just another zombie film' into something very worth watching. But the location is not the only thing this film has going for it. The lack of dialogue (there is some, but it's definitely not a focal point of the film) makes for a much more somber and reflective film than most modern genre films, no unnecessary one liners, no hokey comic relief and a general lack of unsolicited human interaction. Another nice addition to the plot of this one goes back to the location but in a slightly different avenue, it's in western Africa, as I mentioned, which as most of us know is one of the more war ravaged places on the globe, and this film touches on that very subject in a way that gives a sliver of hope for humanity.
There's should be nothing remarkable about the zombies in this film, especially now that rabid/rage/sprinter zombies have evolved into the new, more terrifying breed of horde forming undead killers. But there's still something to be said for the slow, relentless, glass eyed denizens of old. And this movie shows what it is, creating virtually make-up-less creatures that still sell the creep factor as good as any frothing rage victim, just in a completely different way. These guys aren't monsters....they're dead people, and they look like dead people, who eat living people by the village-ful with the emotion of a professional poker player and the thousand yard stare of the most ruined of Vietnam vets.
The violence in this one is great as well, despite the fact there is some CGI scattered throughout. It's classic brutal zombie fodder, but not forced or glorified, just natural, animalistic and unblinking. The reason I give this film a pass for using CGI is that they sparingly use it and when they do it's cleverly hidden and subtle, barely noticeable even. All things that make this guy one happy camper.
All zombie fans, this is that once a year treat that you may have heard of but weren't too sure about whether or not to watch, do it you'll like it. And to you casual viewers, I'd say give it a watch too, there's a lot of good this film has to offer.
7.5/10 detached retinas