The Dead Lands Review

The Dead Lands Review (3/4/2/3) ***

  • Technical: 3

The Dead Lands rides a narrow line somewhere between Indie and Hollywood quality.  Oddly enough it’s the overly polished aspects that were the biggest distraction for me in an otherwise very realistically portrayed setting. The effects were good as in they didn’t seem like effects, the gore and prosthetic work was solid as were the costuming and sets.

  • Performances: 4

The primary cast was able to convey everything despite the entire movie being spoken in an unfamiliar language. Personalities came through quickly and clearly. Some of the secondary cast seemed out of place, but there was little fault in their actual performances which still came across as compelling and believable.

  • Story: 2

The story is actually pretty straight forward and the pacing good other than a segment around the end of the second act. Initially it seemed a bit confusing although its significance is made clear by the end of the segment. The writing and dialogue seemed good, although that’s mostly based on the performances since I do not speak Maori.

  • Impact: 3

The Dead Lands does a very good job of telling a story set in a different time and place. It’s very well made despite some minor flaws that shouldn’t detract too much from the overall package. It’s also a very hard film to categorize; it comes across as either a high budget historical dramatization or a low budget action film. Either way the film is still compelling and fills an otherwise empty niche.