After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, Hongi (James Rolleston) – a Māori chieftain's teenage son – must avenge his father's murder in order to bring peace and honour to the souls of his loved ones. Vastly outnumbered by the band of villains, Hongi's only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious 'Warrior' (Lawrence Makoare) a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.
The Dead Lands is the fourth feature by acclaimed New Zealand director Toa Fraser (Dean Spanley, No. 2, Giselle) and is based on a script by Glenn Standring (Perfect Creature, The Irrefutable Truth About Demons). It was produced by Matthew Metcalfe (Dean Spanley, Beyond The Edge, Giselle) for General Film Corporation, in association with Day Tripper Films. Tainui Stephens and Norman Merry took on co-producer duties and Glenn Standring also receives a producer credit on the film.
The film stars James Rolleston (Boy, The Dark Horse), Lawrence Makoare (Die Another Day, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), Te Kohe Tuhaka (Sione's 2: Unfinished Business), George Henare (Once Were Warriors), Xavier Horan (Dean Spanley) and Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors).
The action epic was shot in Auckland and the central North Island of New Zealand and features the Māori martial art of Mau Rakau, a unique hand-to-hand fighting style not seen on international cinema screens before.