Thursday, July 12, 2012

No zombie meerkats? Another missed opportunity....

THE DEAD (2010)

I have to admit to you, I have always loved the zombie sub-genre of horror.  But even I cannot deny that there is an over-saturation of zombies in the market, on the streets, wherever.  And the main problem I find is that a lot of the movies coming out involving the living dead just plain suck.  As with everything, there are definitely exceptions, but they're becoming few and far between.  So the question is, does The Dead qualify as one of those diamond-in-the-roughs?  Let's find out....

The story is simple enough: after Lt. Brian Murphy's plane crashes into the ocean, he manages to reach the African shoreline.  He decides to try and journey north, to a military base a few hundred miles north of his position.  He manages to find a truck and makes progress until getting himself stuck in mud.  While he tries to get back on the move, he meets  Sgt. Daniel Dembele.  Dembele decided to leave his post in the local military to find his missing son.  After a tense first meeting, they decided to travel together to achieve both of their goals.

So, let's start with the acting.  Overall, it was a pretty decent job done.  The bulk of the flick was Dembele and Murphy together, and I enjoyed the pairing quite a bit.  Their back-and-forths were believable, and when bad things happened, they worked very well as a team.

And the effects/zombies?  The effects, unless I missed something, were entirely practical, and was impressive looking.  A few kills were off screen, which I still prefer over doing it in CGI.  The zombies themselves weren't anything too special, but they did the job.  My biggest problem was with their movement.  With the exception of one zombie moving fast (which was funny, because that one exceptional zombie had no legs, and the film was clearly sped up when it got close to Murphy), they were the standard slow fare, even when they got close to their prey.  When it comes to zombies, my all-time favorites have to be from the original Dawn of the Dead.  Those zombies were slow in general, but when you got close to them, they came to life (no pun intended) and attacked with a ferocity that only an insatiable hunger could create.  That is my ideal zombie. 

Anyway, while the movie is not very fast-paced or terribly original, I ultimately did enjoy watching it.  When the zombies attacked, it did get pretty tense, and that's always a plus.  And as it took place in Africa, some of the scenery was very pleasant as well.  It would have been awesome if there were some indigenous wildlife to contend with, life lions, or rhinos.  Hell, even some rabid meerkats.  But it didn't detract form the movie really.  In the end, I recommend checking The Dead out.  Compared to some of the others out there, you'll probably enjoy this.

On a side note: do any of you remember the controversy with Resident Evil 5 about a white guy in Africa killing a ton of zombie-like black people?  As this movie is quite similar, I'm surprised that there wasn't any controversy here as well.  I guess adding an African partner makes it ok somehow?  I dunno.  The controversy with RE 5 was dumb anyway. 

Movie scale: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Zombie scale: 3.5 out of 5 stars

-Kenny B., all zombied out (until the next z-flick comes out)

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