- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: R
- Run Time: 105 Mins.
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 14, 2012
- List Price: $29.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
When it comes to zombie films, there has been no real innovation in the genre since George A. Romero pretty much invented it and the rules they all seem to follow with his “Dead” films. In order to stand out, you really have to do something special and spectacular. I’m afraid to say that The Dead, doesn’t do much other than placing the action in the beautiful African landscape, which is something we haven’t really seen before, but it doesn’t do much at all with this golden opportunity.
Directed by The Ford Brothers and shot on previously unseen locations across Burkina Faso and Ghana, West Africa, the story focuses on American Air Force engineer Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman), the sole survivor of a plane crash, who must make his way across Africa to get back to his family, fighting off the living dead along the way. He joins forces with local military Sergeant Daniel Dembele (Prince David Osei) who is searching for his missing son. Together they must overcome their differences in order to survive the flesh-eating menace that attack them at every turn.
The film follows all the rules of the zombie genre with no surprises. It has slow-moving zombies, that eat flesh and pass on their infliction through biting you, they can only be killed by a shot to the head, and yet, somehow, despite their lumbering movements, people still manage to get caught by them.
The bottom line is, if you’re looking for something unexpected and exciting in The Dead, you’re looking in the wrong place.
[Editor’s note: portions of this review were previously published]
One would think that the UK and U.S. Release of this film on Blu-ray would be identical, being that they are both being released by Anchor Bay, but that is not the case here. The Anchor Bay Entertainment release from the UK, which I previously reviewed, had slightly higher gamma levels, narrower contrast, and a less natural color palette with emphases on reds and oranges. This US release is a little darker, with slightly better contrast and a more natural palette. Otherwise, everything else looks about the same, with lots of video noise and softness in the AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement.
(See also our: The Dead [UK Release] Blu-ray Review)
[Editor’s Note: All screen captures are taken from their respective releases]
The English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack retains the same flaws that were apparent in the UK edition from Anchor Bay, that is to say that the sound is good, but it could have been much better. Gunshots ring out all through the soundstage with an amazing amount of reverberation, but they sound a bit too high-ended. Low frequencies are quite deep, but they are just a little untamed and the overall levels are pushed quite loud with dynamics suffering a bit.
There is just a slight difference in supplements between this and the UK release from Anchor Bay. The interview with Prince David Osei is absent on this release, and the cast interviews featurette is replaced with a more general ‘behind the scenes” featurette.
- Audio Commentary with writer/producer/director Howard J. Ford and writer/director of photography/co-director Jon Ford
- The Dead: Behind the Scenes (1.78:1; SD; 00:05:12)
- Deleted Scene (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:41)
The Definitive Word
I still say The Dead is a deadly dull zombie film with nothing new but the scenery. It also looks rather awful on Blu-ray, so unless you are really desperate, then skip this one entirely.
Additional Screen Captures