When the last evacuation flight out of war-torn Africa crashes off the coast, American Air Force Engineer Lieutenant Brian Murphy (ROB FREEMAN) emerges as the sole survivor in a land where the dead are returning to life and attacking the living.
Part of it has to do with the film’s setting: Africa. I’ve always had a fascination with the Dark Continent. Probably it started when as a toddler I saw an old Tarzan cartoon or movie, or a WILD KINGDOM rerun, on TV. Or else I explored Africa in a previous life. Either way, a zombie movie set in “the White Man’s Grave” was bound to get my attention and, if properly executed, take its place amongst my favorites of the genre. It’s not surprising that I dug THE DEAD so much. But crediting the locale doesn’t suffice completely to explain my assessment of the film as the BEST DAMN ZOMBIE MOVIE I’VE EVER SEEN! It had to deliver on its own merits.
Let’s face it. Zombie movies today are a dime a dozen. They all tend to run together. You have lousy generic zombie movies, and well made, creative generic zombie movies. There are certain conventions they share, and a director cannot deviate from them. What makes THE DEAD stand out from the pack, other than its setting? Because it’s actually SCARY. Few zombie movies, or Horror movies in general, can actually make me jump. This one made me jump several times. It’s that freakin’ GOOD.