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Zombies In Africa Project “The Dead” Still Alive; Watch New Trailer

Zombies In Africa Project "The Dead" Still Alive; Watch New Trailer

We first alerted you all to this film, titled The Dead, in April, last year; at the time, its future was uncertain. A month or so later, it screened at the Cannes Film Market to overwhelmingly positive audience responses, and managed its way to some distribution opportunities; although, as of this post, it hasn’t played outside of the film festival circuit – at least nothing indicates otherwise.

As I said in my initial post… if District 9 was the “Aliens In Africa” project, then we could maybe call The Dead the “Zombies In Africa” project.

Co-directed by brothers Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford (Americans), the film was shot entirely on location in mostly Burkina Faso and Ghana, in West Africa, and is described as “a powerful story of one man’s struggle to survive in extreme circumstances all the while battling against a menacing threat all around him!

An American mercenary, the sole survivor of a plane crash, has to run the gauntlet across Africa, battling the living dead, joining forces with a local military man, who is desperately searching for his son amongst the chaos, as they fight together to survive.

Naturally, the American mercenary is Caucasian, not-so unlike the hero in District 9, amidst a sea of zombies, seemingly made up entirely of black Africans! Hmmm… it’s not an allegorical tale, but some layered analysis of just the concept alone could be a dissertation.

While I’ll certainly welcome, and even embrace a zombie film made in any part of Africa, starring Africans, this particular set up makes me a little uncomfortable, if past films about Africans in Africa, with white lead protagonists, produced by non-Africans (read whites) are any indication of what to expect. Also, the thought of a watching a white dude roaming through black Africa, picking off black men and women (zombies or not), shattering skulls with a machine gun (or whatever weapon he uses) to protect himself, doesn’t at all encourage me to want to see this. It conjures up a turbulent, still very influential history.

However, I’ll reserve full criticism until I actually see the film; assuming I am able to see it. There may be more to it than I’m giving it credit for.

I’ve been following the film’s progress via its Facebook page, and just realized that a new trailer was posted yesterday, chock-full of praise from some of those who’ve seen it. And despite my aforementioned concerns, I’ll say that it’s actually a much improved trailer, compared to the first two we saw last year, which gave the film a definite straight-to-DVD or VOD release look and feel. Not that my initial perception has changed drastically; it’s just a much better trailer overall.

Watch below:

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Sorry, I have to add another unsolicited thought. While I understand the “save us, white man” schema (which doesn’t fit with this movie, because the “white man” is actually being saved by the African), I don’t understand how the violence against (undead) Africans fits into any contemporary racist ideology.

An obsolete racist ideology would have regarded Africans as dangerous savages, and I think that’s the ideology that you guys are claiming to recognize in this trailer. Such an ideology would have favored mass murder of Africans on this basis. However, the modern racist ideology is completely different. If anything, white Americans are guilty of viewing Africans as too vulnerable and helpless.

If anyone is still reading this post, I challenge you to clearly articulate the ideology you think is being implicitly forwarded by this film. Not just “it’s a white guy against undead Africans,” but “it favors the _____ way of looking at things.”


I’m posting a dissenting opinion, because this came up pretty high in a google search, and I don’t think people should be scared away from the film at the first accusation of OMG RACISM. I will suggest below that the film cannot (yet) be judged as substantively racist. Instead, the film appears to have inherited imagery from a once-racist genre, but has deliberately attenuated or removed the racist elements of that genre.

1. The heritage of this film is Lucio Fulci’s “Zombi 2.” Zombi 2 was an unabashedly racist film, but it was also a great zombie movie. “The Dead” has evidently sought to draw on the best parts of the Zombi 2 framework while DELIBERATELY ATTENUATING the racial elements it has inherited. This isn’t a white man vs. black man movie. It’s a white guy who teams up with a black guy. Judging from the trailer, they’re portrayed as peers, not Hero + Sidekick.

2. To borrow an argument from the African lead actor, it’s impossible to tell this type of story with predominantly white zombies. There just aren’t any unblemished expanses of wilderness that are inhabited by small villages of white people. If you want to do a middle-of-nowhere zombie road movie, you’re either going to wind up with non-white zombies or a plot that doesn’t make sense.

Outback –> Aborigine zombies –> OMG RACISM
South America –> Latino zombies –> OMG RACISM
USA’s deserts –> Way too small for a “road movie”
Antarctica or something –> don’t be silly, it’s too cold for a road movie

3. I guess you could completely take the white guy out of the movie. The black lead actor has a pretty appealing character, and he could probably drive the film by himself. But then what? We’d all be talking about how crazy it is for a white DIRECTOR to direct a movie without any white people in it. We’d be accusing the white director of being racist by presuming to know how to direct a film starring only black people. Any character flaw manifested in such a film would latched upon as evidence of the director’s racism.

In short, I think the viewer has to balance his/her personal sensitivities to racially violent imagery against the rational understanding that the film is not substantively racist. If the images bother you, don’t watch it. If you tolerate the racial slights in Zombi 2, I expect that this film will be even more morally tolerable.

Marc Furi

SAVE US, WHITE MAN! …smh…another one of these films…

other song

if I ever watch this movie, it’ll be a download. No way am I gonna pay hard earned money to watch some white dude (the hero of the film, of course) killing Black zombies. Silly and offensive.

Strath Hamilton

Hi Zombie fans,
Here’s some news for you all. The film will be released Theatrically in the USA in the fall through Global Releasing. Look for new posts on Facebook to get the exact date. The film will be released in the UK Through Anchor Bay, Australia through Hopscotch, Germany through MIG, France and Japan will release this fall as well.

When you see the film you’ll see that there are white and black zombies and death to Zombies is a color blind mayhem. Thematically the film offers up hope for the future of Africa, through the shared black/white experience of fighting an alien species, albiet one created by man. What you see is that life on earth began in Africa, and it may well end there if we don’t take care of the planet.

It’s a truly amazing film, one that could never be made by a major studio and will become an instant classic for slow moving zombie fans everywhere. The Uk directors, the Ford Brothers are guys to watch for stunning imagery and storytelling.


this is almost as bad as Resident Evil 5…

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