I love it when I'm taken aback by a current genre film. It reminds me that quality horror scrapes by beneath the turbid, crackling membrane of mainstream cinema. There is still substantial buzz surrounding The Dead, an earthy zombie flick that recalls the downbeat mettle of any rot-studded Fulci exploit. Comparisons will be made to The Walking Dead, and understandably so, but this gore galleon goes the extra mile to achieve a claustrophobic aura. It actually evokes a sense of genuine horror, and I can't say that about the majority of horror films. Go figure. The dread is palpable. Conjointly, there is no relief in the way of comedy or respites from the taut distress. We get all zombie doom, all the time.
For the record, I'm not trying to draw a parallel between The Dead and Zombie Doom (just thought I should clarify). The barebones plot works in the script's favor. Africa is beset by the undead...those are the only details you need to know. I appreciated the fact that the narrative didn't collapse into a habitual apocalypse scenario where half of the dialogue is reserved for acrimonious arguments hurled from one headstrong character to another. We've already seen that movie. Countless times. Any glaring foibles? Apart from itsy-bitsy stretches of spotty acting, I didn't have many problems with The Dead. It's the zombie epic we were hoping that Romero would helm in his vale of years.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:14 PM