Sunday, May 27, 2012

"The Dead"(2010)d/The Ford Brothers

Let the record show that tonight, another matchless evening of proto-metal, high grade disorientation smoke, and new horror flicks for the kid over here, I stand partially corrected about a movie sub-genre for probably the first time since Leonard Nimoy first fell in love with ugly polyester blazers and turtlenecks.Partially, I say, because despite going into the Ford 's foray into flesh-eating ghouls-on-film blind, and still zombie dyspepsic from Romero's last impecunious harvesting off an already depleted reanimated teat, with expectations lower than Prince Randian's ballbag, the British siblings still managed to deliver a pretty standard zed word effort that offers nothing particularly innovative about the subject, and yet somehow entertained the hell outta me, just the same.The filmmakers display solid technical prowess in soaking their frame with atmosphere and dread while showcasing the savage beauty of the dark continent of Africa, where voodoo, zombies, and the like seem right at home, though they wisely choose to avoid ever hanging the living dead plague within on the black arts, or any other hastily slung together expository roots, knowing full well that genius often lies in simplicity.Partially, I say, because despite such a pleasant suprise as 'The Dead' turned out be, I stand adamantly behind my prior assessment that the cinematic zombie needs reinterment for a period of no less than a decade or two(you guys can also hold off until after I'm unanimated myself, too, I won't complain, really.), unless we're talking about a movie like this...
Jam goes on the toast, not the chest.It isn't Vicks' Vapor Rub, ferchrissakes.
Lt. Brian Murphy(Rob Freeman) is a U.S. military engineer looking to reunite with his family, aboard the last evac flight out of an African continent that has become overrun with re-animated, flesh-eating corpses.When it fails to take off properly, the plane is forced to crash land just off the coast, with Murphy being one of two uninjured survivors in a mad scramble for the cover of the treeline as a beachload of ghouls shamblingly converge upon them, while an immobilized remnant is devoured alive.It's soon apparent that travelling on foot across the scorching plains is a near impossibility; though the silent zombies shuffle along aimlessly baby step by baby step, they are relentless in their pursuit of human food, which can be set upon by a magnitude of white-eyed flesh-eaters in a moment's time, as Murphy learns, getting himself surrounded, and ultimately saved by Sgt. Dembele(Prince David Osei), an African soldier who has absconded from his unit to rescue his wife and young son from a nearby village, only to find the aftermath of a bloodbath: his wife, dying, has been partially eaten by the zombies and his son has hitched a ride aboard a military transport headed north.Murphy and Dembele agree to travel together to the northern base in a hastily repaired Jeep, increasing their infinitessimal chances of survival with numbers.
"Medical aid? We're here for the free Philadelphia Yankees t-shirts."
The odds progressively stack on top of the unlikely duo, sacrificing much of their canteen water to keep the rickety radiator from overheating, and ultimately barrelling breakneck into a shuffling corpse along the way, leaving them no choice but to make the rest of the perilous journey on foot amidst a silent, growing army that's seemingly only moments away from wherever they choose to rest and collect themselves.After a lengthy, expository stay at a proud village determined to battle back the mortifying menaces, Murphy is forced to go it alone when Dembele gets himself bitten, chewed, and swallowed by a roving pack of ghouls one night, when neither man manages to awaken to the makeshift tin can/string/rock zombie alert they've set up around the encampment.Murphy close calls his way through miles of treacherous terrain, often packed with patrols of pustulent zombies that he's forced to hide in ditches and up trees from, dodging a gory demise one last time when soldiers from the nearby base give some surrounding shamblers a lead lunch.Murphy is united with Dembele's son and gives his father's pendant to him before they turn to face the approaching shadow of a zombie horde in the African sun.Credits.
"I found the problem!My femur is puncturing the gas tank..."
Apart from directing commericals and appearing in Pervirella(2002) as  the Statue of Liberty(!), Howard J. has also directed Mainline Run(1994) and 2000's Distant Shadow, while Jon served as cinematographer on both productions.Freeman, who portrayed Ryan's son in Saving Private Ryan(1998), also appeared on shows like X-Files and Millenium, while scoring another genre credit in the made-for-tv Pumpkinhead:Blood Feud(2007).Osei also turns in an effective performance here as Sgt. Dembele, and I look forward to seeing him in more things in the future.I like that the Fords' zombies move like the classic Romero variant rather than the Boyle sprinting variety, but more closely resemble an update on Fulci's, circa Paura nella città dei morti viventi(1980), to me.That the tension remains thicker than a lung fulla Sour Diesel throughout a slow zombie production at this stage of the supersaturated living dead ballgame is just one more tribute to the filmmakers' blatant abilities, and let's not forget they did it without relying on a silly titular prefix like "Continent of..." or some such shit, eh.I hope one or both of them choose to remain in the genre game for at least a few more movies, though it's apparent they're destined for bigger things in the industry, for sure.One or two KNB-style zombie chowdowns away from perfection, methinks.Still, it rates :
If you let this chap with the Farrah smile shamble into your personal space, you're a Ghana...errr, goner.Sorry.


stonerphonic said...

Loved it.

Zombies. Black dude zombies. Who shuffle. And bite motherfuckers. Awesome doesn't come close!


beedubelhue said...

Yeah, I'm with you on this one, Stone.Good stuff, indeed!


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