09th May2013

‘Dead Mine’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Joe Taslim, Ario Bayu, Sam Hazeldine, Use Badhu, Byron Hulbert, Mike Lewis, James Taenaka, Les Loveday, Miki Muzuno | Written and Directed by Steve Sheil

Dead-Mine-screen

Some four years after he struck horror-comedy gold with Mum & Dad, Steve Sheil returns to the directors chair for Dead Mine, which follows a treasure hunter as he adventures deep into the Indonesian jungle on the trail of the legendary Yamashita’s Gold. Caught in the middle of an attack by armed groups, the treasure hunter and his group take refuge in a supposedly abandoned World War II Japanese bunker and are trapped. They quickly realize they are not alone and engage in a desperate struggle for survival and a terrifying reality that the only way out is to go further in…

Following in the footsteps of fellow Brit Gareth Evans, Steve Sheil ups sticks and heads to Indonesia for an Outpost inspired horror tale starring Brit actor Sam Hazeldine (The Raven) and The Raid‘s Joe Talsim which not only features a very similar zombie plot from the aforementioned horror film (replacing Nazi zombies with Chinese Imperial Guard zombies) but which also borrows heavily from films such as the Indiana Jones franchise and The Descent.

The first production of HBO Asia, Dead Mine feels – at first – like a breath of fresh air. The Indonesian setting is certainly something new, at least by todays zombie-movie standards and the films monsters, in particular the traditional armour-clad samurai warriors are again something little seen in the zombie movie genre – their aesthetic makes for a much more imposing threat than your typical undead soldier seen in the likes of Outpost and Dead of War. Another highlights of Dead Mine is most definitely the soundtrack – the atmospheric score, coupled with the way director Steve Sheil uses both diegetic and non-diegetic sound, managing to make even the silent corridors of the mine sound scary!

However it’s not all good news for Dead Mine. For starters the film is a little too close, thematically and sometimes aesthetically, to Outpost and its sequel Black Sun – although co-writer and director Steve Sheil tells his story much more competently than his Outpost counterpart Steve Barker. There’s also the issue of casting. Whilst Joe Taslim and Sam Hazeldine both bring gravitas to their roles but any good the pair do is offset by the horribly mis-cast Les Loveday as the “Indiana Jones” of the group, Price. Loveday’s performance screams the opposite of the rough-and-ready explorer his character should be, coming across more as a spoilt little rich kid out adventuring with daddy’s money. Of the two ladies in the cast, Carmen Soo is wasted as Price’s love-interest and hanger-on; whilst Miki Muzuno, as researcher Rie, is criminally under used.

A great B-movie horror, Dead Mine offers a new take on the zombie mythos, bringing an Eastern flavour to a sub-genre plagued by repetitive takes on a much-maligned movie monster and whilst it may have its problems, the film is a worthy addition to any zombie-loving fans collection.

Dead Mine is released on DVD on May 13th courtesy of eOne

**** 4/5

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2 Responses to “‘Dead Mine’ Review”

  • chn

    Correction it’s Carmen Soo <3 :)

  • Daniel

    It was a good movie up until the end there was no talk about the us solider did he survive or not more of a cliffhanger end to the movie, There should be a second film.