The Dead Undead is a film that reads, on paper, like the filmmakers thought of the title first and pieced together a generic horror plot around it. It concerns a naive group of campers who, in search of somewhere to stay, stumble upon an abandoned house. Sound like the plot to every horror film ever made? It gets even better. There are feral zombies wandering around the area, and the only people who can save them is a group of ass-kicking mercenary types, whose terse and masculine dialogue and generic heavy metal accompaniment suggests they mean business. But are they all that they seem? Or is there hidden layers and depths that could be explored?
No, there isn’t. The secret of the roaming band of fighters is released in the promotional material that surrounds The Dead Undead, making the one interesting feature of the film – the one idea that might make the viewer think ‘Hmm… that’s actually not bad…’ – is revealed immediately, before even watching the film. The film’s central conceit aside, it runs as a pretty standard babes-lost-in-the-woods horror film, with the occasional laughable gory moment or amateurish special effect. There’s even a zombie in a wheelchair who, when he meets his end, changes appearance drastically – his head appears to turn into a bucket.
The cast serve their purpose, and they do it pretty well. The acting isn’t very good but they are serviceable and do all right with what they’ve been given. Luke Goss, the star of the film, looks like it pains him to speak and has the personality of a broken kettle. He snarls and grunts through the film, his face not breaking once in the whole piece and his accent wanders the British Isles and parts of Australia for most of it. The cast is rounded out by various clichéd characters and awful, awful, awful dialogue – at one point, a character actually says ‘Eat this!’ when punching a zombie, with no hint of irony – but it’s a fun film for those with a taste for tat. The Dead Undead may be total rubbish, but its heart is in the right place.