The Dead (2010)
Africa is overrun with cannibalistic zombies, and the final flight out has just crashed off the West Coast. Survivor Brian decides to continue his journey on land. He is saved from danger by a soldier called Daniel - an army deserter who's looking for his son - and the pair team up and travel together.
The undead makeup is surprisingly simple - mainly just white contact lenses - but it's creepy and effective. Both the practical and CGI gore effects are impressive, causing me to wince several times. These zombies are the classic Romero type - slow, steady and unremitting. Yes, you can run from them, but they're everywhere, and there's no place to hide. The film maker builds tension really well through use of music, and from the unusual technique of close up camera angles. On top of all this we get stunning scenery to look at, and it's all captured beautifully.
One of my main issues is with the writing. The story unfolds at a slow pace. A very slow pace. Now this I can cope with, so long as the characters are engaging or the plot is interesting. However, we don't learn much about the two men, and there is very little character development. As a result I had no emotional investment, and didn't really care what happened to them. And while there are some decent horror scenes, the film feels like a collection of set pieces linked together by a very thin plot. By an hour in, I was fidgeting in my seat and regularly checking the clock to see how much longer I had to watch.
The other issue for me, I found it hard to get past the imagery of white people shooting countless black people in the head over and over again. That seemed far more disturbing that the actual story or special effects.
There's a predictable ending, featuring a zombie-movie cliche, and a mawkish, emotional 'surprise'. It's a shame after having a promising start, especially as technically (and visually) it's quite impressive. But I wouldn't want to watch it again.