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Trying to Escape a Zombie-Plagued Africa, Facing Humanity All Along the Way, in The Dead

Welcome to Africa, where most humans have turned—one bite at a time—into zombies. As this superbly crafted horror film opens, American Air Force Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) is on the last plane out. It crashes, and he washes up on the beach of the very Africa he was trying to escape. Lifting his head from the sand, Murphy sees a shuffling line of glassy-eyed zombies inching his way. Making their feature debut, British commercial directors and brothers Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford find a way to save Murphy from those beachside zombies, but they never stop throwing obstacles in his path, including the split second when Murphy must decide whether to take the infant being thrust at him by an injured mother who’s about to be overrun by the undead. Later, Murphy teams up with an African army soldier (Prince David Oseia) who’s searching for his surviving son. Their mutual distrust comes naturally, but over time, each man begins to worry more about the other than himself. Filmed in West Africa and beautifully photographed by Jonathan Ford, The Dead, with its vast, pitiless landscapes and moral seriousness, is Night of the Living Dead reimagined as a Sergio Leone western. It’s a knockout.


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