Blu-ray Review: ‘The Dead’

The zombie culture continues to grow with another film, appropriately named, The Dead. The film follows the style of a zombie pace that is rarely seen these days in blockbuster zombie films. Where in a time that began with George A. Romero capturing the slow transformation of a zombie film only to result in uncontrollable onslaught endings, The Dead brings viewers back to that reminiscing touch. For most zombie film goers, this can easily turn into a cult classic, however the film leaves in the grave what I had hoped to find in any zombie film – action, plot development, and suspenseful horror.

The film takes place on location in the stunning landscapes of Africa where we follow the unforeseen crossing of two men’s paths. The first is a Lt. in the U.S military engineer core named Brian Murphy, played by Rob Freeman, which due to a catastrophic evacuation mission, is left stranded in a zombie infested Africa. The second is native Sgt. Daniel Dembele, played by Prince David Oseia, whose entire storyline revolved around awol’n his military and finding his son.

These two men are now at grasps of what the world has turned into. Dealing with paralleled present day dilemmas of western foreigners attempting to help in diplomatic aid and putting aside any preconceived prejudices, actors Rob Freeman and Prince David Oseia, are put in classic zombie survival mode. The film really begins when these two men meet but unfortunately there will have been nearly an hour of no dialogue and very little action scenes prior that would indicate where the plot is going or what the plot is even about.

The zombies do justice to the cult genre. Makeup and wardrobe for them was excellent and there was never a time where I felt like they were really alive. The scenes in which I hoped to be scared always fell short and was unfortunate because of how great the zombies appeared. There are instances in the film that just make you want to scream “hurry up!” at the molasses paced plot and action. I did mention that this had a George A. Romero feel to it, but the film is just a little too slow, too late, and definitely does not have enough developmental dialogue.

The Dead dropped the ball in too many places that resulted in a bland conviction of a Romero cult classic. On its own, actors Rob Freeman and Prince David Oseia emote convincing characterizations that bring life to this zombie film. The story is solid but just too choppy and slow to appreciate. This film needed more action and suspense combined with character development and cohesion to truly make it a cult classic zombie film.

Grade: F

Video Quality

The film is done in MPEG-4 AVC codec format with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Overall the films colors blend well from scene to scene, but there are instances where color changes from a darker to lighter tone unexpectedly. There are also moments where one scene is a bit grainier than the next.

Grade: D

Audio Quality

Mastered in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 the film does bring out all the sounds of Sub Saharan Africa and does a great job bringing out the music, speech, and background sounds. But because of the amount of dead air, moments in the film where nothing is happening, the audio never really has a chance to excel.

Grade: C

Extras

The extras probably brought me the most excitement. Featured is Unearthing The Dead behind the scenes showcasing the raw vantage point of the director. Filmmaker’s commentary by the Ford brothers and deleted scenes are also included.

Grade: C

Overall Grade: D

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