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The Dead

A well-made new zombie film tracks the undead in Africa

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Now the developing world has a problem once only seen in the first world: zombies. Brothers Howard and Jonathan Ford's horror film is set in an unnamed West African country overrun with the undead. The lightly plotted film follows two survivors -- an American engineer and an African soldier -- as they hazard a long journey hoping to find a survivors' encampment. There's not much dialogue -- but really, what's to say? Instead, The Dead, shot on 35 mm in Burkina Faso, puts its faith in the visual, setting up some gorgeous shots utilizing the natural landscape and just letting the awfulness of the situation settle in silence. This a serious, almost contemplative zombie film, with no jokes and snarky homage. Nonetheless, fans of the genre will applaud the zombie-fu, as many undead heads are shot off, and plenty of the living get bitten. These are classic slow-moving zombies, but they're everywhere, despite the vastness of the seemingly empty landscape; no sooner does a character stop moving, than zombies emerge from the brush, like flies descending on a picnic. Starts Fri., Oct. 7, at AMC Loews. Also screening, 10 p.m. Fri., Oct. 7 and midnight, Sat., Oct. 8, at the Oaks.

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