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The Dead Lands

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
The Dead Lands
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Time Out Says

3 out of 5 stars

This rip-roaring Maori action-adventure movie follows a young tribesman on a mission to avenge his father's murder

New Zealand is the star of this totally bonkers action movie about ancient warring Maori tribes. Director Toa Fraser’s haunting shots of the country’s vast, beautiful and untouched landscapes say ‘come visit me’. If you do, pray you don’t bump into the bloodthirsty protagonists of this brutal Maori-language epic, which was New Zealand’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars.

It’s the tale of Hongi (James Rolleston), a teenage boy on a journey of revenge across the Dead Lands – home to a fabled flesh-eating monster – after his people are slaughtered by another tribe just for vicious kicks. The many gory but tautly choreographed battle scenes are a treat – all beginning with an ancestral haka war dance. The plot gets a little convoluted and, when the magic mushrooms come out, more than a little trippy, but overall it’s a fun thriller with a difference that’ll have you reaching for the travel brochures.

Written by Daisy Bowie-Sell

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 29 May 2015
  • Duration:109 mins

Cast and Crew

  • Director:Toa Fraser
  • Screenwriter:Glenn Standring
  • Cast:
    • James Rolleston
    • Lawrence Makoare
    • Te Kohe Tuhaka
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