Friday, February 6, 2015
Weekly schlock and awe movie time!
Well another day another zombie movie. We all know the saturation level of zombie stuff is at an all-time high. That won’t stop me from digging through the pile of zombie related movies to find a good one. After many many attempts, I think I found one.
Lieutenant Brian Murphy is flying home. His plane happens to go down in Africa. Well that sucks. Even worse is that a zombie outbreak is in full swing. Well that sucks even more. While dodging zombies Lt. Murphy meets up with Sargent Daniel Dembele who is on a trek to get to his son. They team up and start the dangerous trek through beautiful African locations that are chock full of undead cannibals.
The Dead. I’m now a fan.
The environment is vast. This is very welcome change to the all too typical urban, sub-urban and quasi-rural locals. If the zombies weren’t bad enough now you have an open area with nowhere to hide. Just miles and miles of open savannah, badlands and desert to navigate. A big and open area can be just as, if not more, frightening and tense as somewhere close and confined.
The zombies were the biggest draw for me. They have bluish white contacts that give a great creep factor and enhance their dead blank stares. They are not bloody, sloppy and drippy which is a nice change. Plus! These are the wonderful shamblers of old. They slowly trundle along and are always close enough to be a threat. They don’t make sounds which is a great touch; no moaning, groaning or random noise. They also don’t get worked up or that burst of undead speed when there are tasty living humans about. They just silently trundle along and eat what they can grab. I miss that from zombies.
The gore is not over the top. There is a more realistic and minimalist approach to the bloody bits. There are no gimmicky kills here. That is another refreshing bit. There is a lot of repetitive zombie head trauma, but that is understandable and par for the course. The poor pitiful human victims deaths are not too over the top either. There is a lot of tearing, biting and pulling, but nothing really crazy like many have come to expect in zombie films. Now don’t get me wrong, I love some crazy gore. There is a time and place for crazy gore, but here it would not have ruined the overall feel of the movie.
Not everything in this movie is perfect and there are middling issues. The pacing will drive some to madness. This is not a fast moving film and has a few stutters with an already slow pace. There are also some plot issues that arise and then are squashed easily or end anti-climactically. I can see the ending might be an issue as well since it is not a complete nihilistic downer, like in the majority of zombie films. Yet, it is not a joy joy good time ending either.
I know Africa has a big population, but every time these guys stop they are either attacked or under threat of attack. While in the middle of nowhere….where are these zombies coming from? I guess it was to keep that fear going, but every now and then they could stop without being assaulted or under threat. At least they weren’t set upon by lions, attacked by hippos at a river crossing, assaulted by hyenas, assailed by a witch doctor, battered by some local tin pot dictator and didn’t run afoul of those pesky albino gorillas. The standard jungle story flair was thankfully not a factor.
I think The Dead has to be one of the better zombie films in several years. There is nothing connecting the original Night of the Living Dead universe to this movie, but it easily could be. It is a solid and grounded zombie film and fans of the genre should appreciate it. I sure a shoot did.