Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Impressive scenery and action elevate a tale of pre-colonial Maori warfare that is nonetheless brutal to the brink of monotony.
Abstract, synth-scored finale notwithstanding, it's another plodding take on the hero's journey, with New Zealand's rugged terrain cut into an indistinguishable mass of karst rock and dry grass.
Los Angeles Times:
A fable about New Zealand's indigenous Maori people before the arrival of European settlers, "The Dead Lands" values entertainment over archaeology.
New York Daily News:
The plot may not be the most original, but the specifics of the Maori culture are unique.There's also neat use of modern electric music, which helps make The Dead Lands come alive.
New York Times:
Honor and shame are frequently announced concerns in the story, and the staginess recalls Mr. Fraser's experience as a theater director.
Once you get past an awkward and artificial beginning and roll with the movie's crazy rhythm, The Dead Lands is also a blast, and one that delivers an unexpected emotional wallop along with gore, thrills and spectacular scenery.
Action fans will enjoy the fight scenes while the rest of us may find the film perversely interesting from a socio-anthropological perspective.
A fun thriller that'll have you reaching for the travel brochures.
Essentially a single, overlong, wearyingly violent chase sequence with shout-outs to honor and maintaining traditions, the story isn't much more than an excuse to keep the artery-spraying war of attrition going.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
It feels like a typical action movie that's been sawed off and sanded down - its blunt edges sharpened, its soft center drained out. It's not particularly original, but it is mean, relentless, and bracing.