The Dead by the Ford Brothers was a very pleasant surprise; I haven’t been watching as many zombie flicks lately because most of them seemed to be made by non-zombiephiles. I don’t know any technical terms about the filming process, and I usually just watch movies for entertainment value anyway…but I noticed right away that the quality of the film was more like a big screen film production than the home-movie quality some indie films seem to have…AND, no stupid camera movements like the shakes, which is also refreshing. Not sure what the budget was for this particular film that lasts just over 90 minutes, but someone definitely spent some money on this project, regardless of the claim that it was “low-budget.”
The movie starts with a guy in the African desert (American actor Rob Freeman as a US military engineer) shooting a zombie, and most of the movie that follows explains how he ended up in the desert, until the guy’s story reaches the point where he shoots the zombie. After that, it returns to present time; I thought it was a cool manipulation of the timeline. The guy is an American soldier stranded in West Africa after the last evacuation plane crashes in the ocean. He is joined by an African soldier (African actor Prince David Oseia) who is searching for his son, after his village is overrun. I loved the comparison and contrast between these two survivors gave the plot some depth. I do think they could have spent a little more time on the military tension between the two, but the idea of them agreeing to work together was believable.
The village outbreak was a great zombie scene, but despite the great action sequences, quite a bit of the film is the two survivors driving through the wilderness with zombies constantly appearing in the peripheral. Although, there a many intense scenes during the drive any time they have to stop for repairs, etc. I was actually jumping a few times…catching me off guard is not that easy, so I was impressed with the suspense factor.
The special effects were excellent, and I was really glad to see the zombies had the same qualities of the original Romero undead. For that reason alone, if you’re one of those zombie fans that thinks there is no hope for zombie indie films, you should really give this one a chance. There’s never an explanation of the source, but there is a great dialogue between two African soldiers that reflects on the outbreak. I did some issues with some of the behavior of the survivors (i.e. taking too many risks) that had me yelling at the characters, but that just shows how engrossed I was in this film.
The DVD extras left something to be desired with only one deleted scene & background scenes set to music (absolutely no commentary, which would have been welcomed). The Ford Brothers missed a golden opportunity by not including more special features.
This could work as a stand-alone movie, but I’d love to see more about this outbreak, especially considering the setting. I have already been recommending this movie to my fellow zombiephiles! Check out the trailer, and see for yourself.