The Dead (2010 film)

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The Dead
A vulture eats a corpse that has wide, eerily staring eyes. In the background armed men survey an apocalyptic scene.
Theatrical poster
Directed by
  • Howard J. Ford
  • Jon Ford
Produced by
  • Howard J. Ford
  • Amir S. Moallemi
Written by
  • Howard J. Ford
  • Jon Ford
Music byImran Ahmad
CinematographyJon Ford
  • Indelible Productions
  • Latitude Films
Distributed byAnchor Bay Entertainment
Release date
  • 30 August 2010 (2010-08-30)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Dead is a 2010 British zombie film produced by Indelible Productions in association with Latitude Films and starring Rob Freeman, Prince David Osei, and David Dontoh. The film was released in 2010 and directed by the Ford brothers.[1][2][3][4]


Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Freeman), a United States Air Force engineer, is the sole survivor of the final evacuation plane out of Africa, which crashes somewhere off the coast of West Africa. The previous night, a zombie horde attacked many villages throughout that area. Brian gathers supplies from the plane crash and travels by foot until he finds and fixes a broken-down truck in a village he reaches. While driving, the truck gets stuck in a pothole as zombies close in. Daniel Dembele (Osei), a local African soldier gone AWOL in search of his son, rescues Brian from certain death. Daniel's wife had been killed in a zombie attack the previous night and a local military unit, heading north to a military base, had rescued his son. Daniel agrees to lead Brian to the nearest airport, a day's drive away, in exchange for his truck upon arrival for Daniel to use to find his son. At the airport, Brian attempts radioing for help using the air traffic tower's radio, but he receives no response. Daniel gathers fuel for the truck and the two agree it would be best to stick together and attempt travel to the military base, with Daniel hoping his son is there and Brian hoping they have a plane he can repair to fly back to the United States.

They rest for a night at a village that has been converted to a survival colony safeguarded by a group of local soldiers. They leave the following morning. While driving through the African plains, the truck hits a tree, breaking the axle and disabling the vehicle. Brian and Daniel continue on foot and sleep around a fire that night. A zombie horde attacks the group in their sleep, leaving Daniel bitten and badly wounded. They manage to shoot their way out of the attack and continue moving forward. Daniel tells Brian of a necklace he wears and that he planned to pass down to his son. Daniel succumbs to his wounds soon thereafter. Brian continues the trek alone to the northern military base. After an arduous journey through dangerous and rough terrain, Brian reaches the base, which has become a survival colony. He repairs an old radio unit in the base and broadcasts his name, managing to reach fellow American military officer Frank Greaves at a U.S. military base in Henderson, Nevada. It is revealed that the epidemic has reached the United States, which is rapidly failing to hold out. When Brian asks about his family, Frank informs him that "they're gone." Zombies invade the U.S. military base, ending the radio transmission. Brian goes back outside as zombies overwhelm the gates around the colony and begin killing all the survivors. At the last moment, Daniel's son approaches Brian, seeing his father's necklace in his hand. They hold hands and turn to face the overwhelming horde that approaches them.The film ends leaving their fate unknown.


  • Rob Freeman as Lieutenant Brian Murphy
  • Prince David Osei as Sergeant Daniel Dembele
  • David Dontoh as The Chief
  • Ben Crowe as Dan Ryder
  • Dan Morgan as James
  • John Dunton-Downer as Lieutenant Frank Greaves
  • Jon Ford as Mercenary with shotgun (cameo)
  • Howard J. Ford as Dying Mercenary on beach (cameo)


The production encountered many problems, and rather than shooting in the planned six weeks, the crew actually ending up taking 12 weeks. A delay in the shipping of the equipment to Africa initially added three weeks to the schedule; other notable problems included the lead actor Rob Freeman contracting malaria and almost dying in the middle of filming. He was taken to the local hospital and put on an IV drip for several days. Another delay was caused by considerable damage to camera equipment.[citation needed] Shooting took place in Burkina Faso and Ghana.[5] Post-production was done in Brighton, London and Elstree in the UK.[citation needed] The film sound mix was completed by Bafta nominated Adam and Graham Daniel shortly before Christmas 2010.[citation needed] Howard J. Ford published book, titled Surviving the Dead (2012), that detailed the troubled production history.[6]


The film had its world premiere in August 2010 at Frightfest and its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest.[7] U.S. and UK rights were acquired by Anchor Bay Entertainment. After a UK theatrical the UK DVD and Blu-ray was released in September 2011.[8] In the U.S., The Dead opened on over 150 screens.[citation needed] The U.S. DVD and Blu-ray commenced in February 2012.[9] Other territories which picked up the film included France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Korea, Japan, Latin America, Scandinavia, and Benelux.[citation needed]


The reviews for the film were generally positive. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 72% approval rating with an average rating of 5.7/10 based on 18 reviews.[10] Metacritic rated it 59/100 based on six reviews.[11] Joe Leydon of Variety wrote, "With nary a trace of snark, satire or self-consciousness, Brit sibling filmmakers Howard J. and Jon Ford breathe some fresh life into zombie-thriller tropes."[12] Mark Adams of Screen Daily wrote, "And while the story offers nothing particularly new to the genre, The Dead is a film made with passion and enthusiasm and is certainly distinctive in tone and backdrop."[13] Phelim O'Neill of The Guardian rated it 3/5 stars and wrote, "This low-budget zombie movie rises out of the pack thanks to a smart and ambitious decision to shoot in Burkina Faso."[14] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times wrote that the film has a possibly unintended, disturbing metaphorical subtext due to Africans killing each other. Of the road movie aspects, Genzlinger called it "a long, chemistry-free slog through the zombified countryside".[15] The Los Angeles Times wrote that the setting initially helps the film's atmosphere but eventually overwhelms it with metaphors of violence in Africa.[16] John DeFore of The Washington Post criticized casting, acting, and writing, though he said that the gore effects will satisfy horror fans.[17] Chuck Wilson of The Village Voice called it "Night of the Living Dead reimagined as a Sergio Leone western".[18] The Star Tribune rated it 2/4 stars and wrote that the film lacks enough social commentary and creepy scares to make up for its lack of fully using its setting.[19] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle rated it 3/5 stars and wrote that "the film provides a whole new way of looking at the same old dead things".[20] Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine rated it 2/4 stars and called it "a perfectly serviceable horror movie" that "fails to transcend the banality of its inevitable theme".[21] Matthew Lee of Twitch Film wrote, "Though the brothers generally treat their story with a fair degree of sensitivity, never patronising or exoticising anyone, other than the setting there's nothing that unique about it."[22] Mike Pereira of Bloody Disgusting rated it 3/5 stars and called it a "pretty routine" zombie film that will appeal to hardcore zombie fans.[23] Steve Barton of Dread Central rated it 4/5 stars and called it one of the best recent zombie films.[24]


A sequel, The Dead 2: India, was released on 22 August 2013, and then on DVD on 16 September 2014. Unlike the first film, the setting takes place in India. The sequel follows the story of American engineer Nicholas Burton (Joseph Millson) in a race against time to reach his pregnant girlfriend Ishani Sharma (Meenu Mishra) during a virus outbreak. Burton enlists the help of an orphaned street kid Javed (Anand Krishna Goyal) together, they make a perilous 300 mile journey across deadly landscapes as a zombie apocalypse threatens to engulf the entire nation.


  1. ^ Coleman, Jason (15 February 2012). "Interview: Actor Rob Freeman on the Harrowing Shoot For The Dead", Starpulse. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  2. ^ Shirey, Eric (21 February 2012). "The Dead Actor Rob Freeman Shares What He Wants Viewers to Get Out of the Film", Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  3. ^ D'Onofrio, Roberto E. (13 October 2011). "The Dead Walk Again! Part One", Fangoria. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  4. ^ D'Onofrio, Roberto E. (14 October 2011). "The Dead Walk Again! Part Two", Fangoria. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  5. ^ Dendle, Peter (2012). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, Volume 2: 2000–2010. McFarland & Company. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-0-7864-6163-9.
  6. ^ O'Shea, Keri (2 March 2012). "Book Review: 'Surviving The Dead' by Howard J. Ford". Brutal As Hell. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  7. ^ Barton, Steve (9 August 2010). "The Dead – Second Making-of Video Brings on the Zombies". Dread Central. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  8. ^ Barton, Steve (12 February 2011). "The Dead Rise for Anchor Bay". Dread Central. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  9. ^ Tyner, Adam (31 January 2012). "The Dead (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  10. ^ "The Dead (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  11. ^ "The Dead". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  12. ^ Leydon, Joe (11 October 2010). "Review: 'The Dead'". Variety. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  13. ^ Adams, Mark (16 June 2010). "The Dead". Screen Daily. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  14. ^ O'Neill, Phelim (1 September 2011). "The Dead – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  15. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (13 October 2011). "Trudging Through Zombified West Africa". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Movie review: 'The Dead'". Los Angeles Times. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  17. ^ DeFore, John (21 October 2011). "Even zombies deserve better". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2015 – via Highbeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  18. ^ Wilson, Chuck (12 October 2011). "Trying to Escape a Zombie-Plagued Africa, Facing Humanity All Along the Way, in The Dead". The Village Voice. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Reviewed in brief: 'Happy, Happy' and 'Sarah Palin: You Betcha!"". Star Tribune. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  20. ^ Savlov, Marc (7 October 2011). "The Dead". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  21. ^ Bowen, Chuck (10 October 2011). "The Dead". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  22. ^ Lee, Matthew (29 November 2010). "LIFF 2010: THE DEAD review". Twitch Film. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  23. ^ Pereira, Mike (27 February 2012). "[Blu-ray Review] Mini-Thoughts On 'The Dead,' 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' and 'Baby Yaga'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  24. ^ Barton, Steve (25 January 2012). "Dead, The (Blu-ray / DVD)". Dread Central. Retrieved 7 March 2015.

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