THE DEAD LANDS is a new series on Shudder. It’s from New Zealand and we’re dealing with horror-fantasy. Also, the story takes place in ancient Maori times. Read our The Dead Lands Season 1 review here!

THE DEAD LANDS is a new Shudder horror-fantasy series from New Zealand. The actual story plays out in ancient Maori times and we’re dealing with both folklore and undead (aka zombies), so there’s that.

The actual series utilizes horror-comedy as well, which helps make everything gel together rather smoothly. Obviously, this won’t be for everyone. However, if you like the style of Evil Dead and Xena: Warrior Princess, then this is definitely worth checking out.

Continue reading our The Dead Lands review of season 1 below. The season has 8 episodes that are each 45-minutes, so you can watch it on Shudder relatively fast.

Folklore and the undead

We might think of zombies as a relatively new notion, but really, the idea of “the undead” is hardly new. For one, vampires certainly belong in that same category.

In fact, some movies and TV series do tend to have plots that include creatures that could be described as both being zombies and vampires. The recently released Netflix series Betaal from India is a perfect example of this.

You might like: Our season 1 review of the Netflix series Betaal here >

Also, most indigenous people seem to have folklore that includes variations of the undead. That’s exactly what the plot of The Dead Lands is all about. In this series, the undead has managed to infiltrate the world of the living. A recently slain warrior is denied access to the afterlife (because he’s been an actual monster in live) so he’s sent back to restore his honor.

What better way than to take on the fight against the undead to save the living. Surely, this is a task of honor, right?!

The Dead Lands: Season 1 – Shudder Review

Watch season 1 of The Dead Lands on Shudder and Digital HD!

The creator of The Dead Lands series is Glenn Standring, who also wrote the 2014 movie that this new Shudder series is based on. However, while the movie was actually in Maori, this TV series is in English. This will no doubt result is much larger appeal, though I would admittedly have loved that this was also in Maori.

The director of the movie, Toa Fraser, is not part of this TV series. He has been staying very busy since directing that movie and has actually been working on a lot of series. He followed up The Dead Lands movie by directing the “A Blade of Grass” episode of Penny Dreadful which is the highest-rated episode. Most recently, he directed on NOS4A2 and Stargirl.

The eight episodes of season 1 are directed by Peter Burger and Michael Hurst, who each directs four episodes. Peter Burger previously directed the horror-thriller The Tattooist (2007). Michael Hurst has directed on TV series such as Ash vs Evil Dead, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Hercules which seem like the perfect experience for working on this series.

When The Dead Lands first began, I was not really feeling it. However, within the first episode, I did have to reevaluate this since it grew on me rather quickly. In other words, give it a shot and at least finish the first episode before deciding whether it’s for you or not.

The Dead Lands is out on Shudder and Digital HD with season 1 from June 8, 2020.


Directors: Peter Meteherangi Tikao Burger and Michael Hurst
Writer: Glenn Standring
Stars: Te Kohe Tuhaka, Darneen Christian, Kirk Torrance, Vicky Haughton


In THE DEAD LANDS, Waka, a murdered Māori warrior returned from the Afterlife, and Mehe, a determined young woman, embark on a quest to find who “broke the world” and how to close the breach between the living and the dead.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard