Dirs/scr: Howard J Ford & Jon Ford. UK. 2010. 98mins
African set zombie movie The Dead is a beautifully shot horror film that makes the most of its impressive locations, delivers in terms of the gore and should please horror-fans on the look-out for something new in the world of the walking dead.
The blood and gore scenes crop up at reassuringly regular intervals, and the variety and breadth of locations gives it an epic quality.
Though modestly budgeted, the stunning African locations – the film shot in Burkina Faso and Ghana – help give The Dead a real sense of quality, plus there is a real enthusiasm from the locals on-hand to play the zombie hordes. On-line interest is already strong, and there will be a lot of buzz around the film from the genre film festivals.
Africa has been ravaged by a virus, and Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman), an American mercenary attempts to escape on the last flight out. But the plane crashes and he has to try and run the gauntlet of the stumbling flesh-eaters, eventually joining forces with Daniel Dembele (Prince David Osei), a local soldier desperately searching for his son amidst the chaos.
Murphy’s trek sees him battling the zombies against a series of impressive backdrops – from beaches and forests through to deserts and mountains – as he seeks to find an escape. Luckily these zombies are of the old-fashioned slow-moving variety, which does tend to make it a little easier, but the lack of an urban environment does make this zombie tale distinctive and memorable.
The directing/writing team of Howard J Ford and brother Jon Ford make great use of the African locations, using the open spaces to reinforce the plot-point that there is really no-where to hide in rural Africa. The blood and gore scenes crop up at reassuringly regular intervals, and though relatively modest in terms of running time the variety and breadth of locations gives it an epic quality.
And while the story offers nothing particularly new to the genre, The Dead is a film made with passion and enthusiasm and is certainly distinctive in tone and backdrop. A film that will likely have a strong life for buyers of genre films and will be a must-have movie for horror film festivals.
Production companies: Indelible Pictures, Latitude Films
International sales: Tricoast Worldwide, www.tricoastinternational.com
Producer: Howard J Ford
Associate producer: Nader Taghan
Cinematography: Jon Ford
Music: Imram Ahmad
Main cast: Rob Freeman, Prince David Osei, David Dontoh