Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I guess we could complain that there’s another Zombie movie to watch, to go along with the plethora of zombie movies released over the years, and the zombie TV Show, like we have this movie from the Ford Brothers entitled ‘The Dead’. And I guess we could mention that Zombie movies don’t necessarily have to have the word ‘dead’ in the title to let us know it’s a zombie movie. But the Zombie Movie is just a genre my friends. It would be like getting mad at the RomCom or the Action Adventure. The only thing we care about is if the Zombie Movie is a good Zombie Movie and ‘The Dead’, we’ll have you know, is a good Zombie Movie.

Dateline… Africa. I know Africa is a big ol’ continent but I forget where in Africa exactly this movie takes place. Our film begins with a man walking in the desert, wearing garb to protect him as best it can from the sun, while the occasional zombie slowly but relentlessly stalks him. He’s not concerned about that zombie. I think I’ve seen enough zombie stuff to the point my zombie survival skills are pretty tight. You see my man could kill this zombie, but in all honesty that would just waste a precious bullet, he’s saving his bullets for a zombie he can forge over and see what they got that he can use. Yes, this man was rolling a zombie. Is nothing sacred?

How did he get there? How did this begin? As you well know, rare is the zombie movie that actually tells us how the infection began, this one not being any different, but the nightmare for Lt. Murphy began on a plane a few weeks back. This man, Engineer Lt. Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) was on the last plane out of Africa as the dead have come back to walk the Earth and eat people. Lt. Murphy, whose job it is to fix this plane, warned these people that the plane wasn’t ready to fly, but what choice did they really have? Not surprisingly, the plane crashes off the coast but Lt. Murphy and some other dude does manage to survive, not that this other dude is all that interested in lending a brother a hand because he jets off as quickly as possible, but don’t worry, we’ll meet him again. And that crashing plane must’ve sounded like a dinner bell to the zombies because they arrive at the beach for a midday snack about the same time Lt. Murphy washed up on this beach.

Lt. Murphy managed to escape this perilous situation, but to what? And for how long? Eventually he gets an old pickup running, remember… he fixes stuff… and along the way, thankfully so, he runs into zombie free soldier Sgt. Daniel Dembele (Prince David Oseia). Sgt. Dembele’s only purpose in life at this point is to find his young son who he believes survived the massacre at his village, while Lt. Murphy wants to make it to an airbase that could possibly have an airplane he could fix and get the heck out of Dodge. Thus a friendship is formed. A zombie version of Riggs and Murtaugh.

These two cats hit the road to various locales, the dead are everywhere, supplies are low, tempers are short, but they find a way to work together to make the best of this awful situation. Of course when the movie started, we saw Lt. Murphy walking in the desert without Sgt. Dembele by his side so we are a little bit worried about my man’s well being, but we’ll hold out hope that he just went his separate way or found his boy or something. Keeping our fingers crossed for you Sgt. Dembele.

Eventually the movie will catch up to where we started, the situation even more hopeless than before, but maybe somewhere in the desert Lt. Murphy can find that oasis of hope, and maybe he can it make back home to his wife and baby girl. Here’s keeping our fingers crossed for him as well.

There are a couple of unique elements in ‘The Dead’, one being the location as it takes place in the plains and deserts of Africa. I haven’t seen this many Black people killed in a movie since ‘New Jack City’. But seriously, the wide open location and the fact that the environments that our heroes were dealing with was almost as lethal as the dead themselves and also made for fresh take on the zombie experience. In addition, the relationship between the characters of Dembele and Murphy was also a unique take, turning the ‘The Dead’ into a buddy road flick for their time together, and while Freeman and Oseia won’t be confused for Olivier and Poitier any time soon, they played off of each other very well. The Zombies were simple but well designed, the violence the zombies caused and the gore from slaughtering the zombies was suitably brutal and I think we can all agree that slow moving and slow crawling zombies are far creepier than track star zombies. Besides, could anybody seriously survive a world with track star zombies? I think not.

There’s no real plot to the movie so to speak, just a series of adventures while a guy tries to make from point A to point B while attempting to avoid getting eaten, and we do spend an awful lot of time with Lt. Murphy as he walks in the desert so perhaps a little compression of some of this might’ve been in order, but that’s just nitpicking. ‘The Dead’ is a tense, taut, thrilling and violent slow burning film that delivers far more often than it stumbles. A zombie movie worth any zombie-fans valuable zombie time.

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