Ditching the usual urban playground for something altogether different and fresh, The Dead provides some much needed bite for the zombie genre.

A thrilling, gore-filled epic that makes spectacular use of what was a pretty low budget, this effort from the Ford Brothers puts a lot of major studio offerings to shame.

Let’s face it, while I love the zombie genre, and always have, there are certain limits to what you can do with a bunch of shuffling undead slowly munching their way through the living.

That’s why the more memorable flicks have either set their action somewhere unique (think Fulci’s island-set Zombie Flesh Eaters) or have tweaked the formula slightly (the ‘speeded-up’ zombies of 28 Days Later etc).

So major credit to the Ford Brothers for electing to add a new spin by setting this in Africa, allowing them to utilise some impressive-looking locations that really add a dynamic to proceedings.

The plot is fairly straightforward – an outbreak (we don’t know what or why) has led to the dead returning to life and causing havoc.

Set ‘somewhere inWest Africa’, the opening sees a plane of American mercenaries crash into the ocean as they look to flee the carnage.

This crash leaves one survivor, Lt Brian Murphy (played by Rob Freeman), who must arm himself and travel the land looking for a way out.

He is eventually joined on this quest by local soldier Sgt Daniel Dembele (Prince David Osei), who not only is trying to find answers to just what exactly has happened, but is also looking for his son.

This really grabs from the get-go and there is enough gore to satiate even the most jaded bloodhound.

Limbs are hacked off, plentiful foreheads are shot to smithereens and there is a whole load of gut-munching going on.

But it is far from gimmicky though – the Ford Brothers play the whole thing pretty straight and the film is a whole lot better for it.

The locations are excellent, the acting solid across the board and a host of set-pieces impressively staged.

Add in a mood-inducing soundtrack that hammers home the fact that you are viewing something a bit special and the whole package comes together very nicely.

The Dead really is must-see material for any horror fan.

 

THE DEAD IS RELEASED ON OCTOBER 10

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.