Posts Tagged ‘post apocalyptic’

Year Released : 2015

Director : Stephen Fingleton

Cast : Martin McCann, Olwen Fouere and Mia Goth

I wonder how many times I’ve reviewed a film for this site that has quotes that contain the words “masterful” or “riveting” before? I’d bet it was a low number, and I’d also wager that the amount that actually lived up to those grandiose claims would be even lower.  I had when smaller films do this because they’re automatically setting themselves up for a fall, and more often than not I come out of the other end very pissed off after feeling lied to.

Then again, it’s all based on the opinion of someone else, and if there is anything that I am a firm believer of it is that even if your opinion is different, it doesn’t mean their’s is wrong. That’s the beauty about films, two people could see the exact same movie and have completely different views on it. For example, last year a lot of people raved about “Deadpool”, but I personally didn’t enjoy it, and the same will be said about some other films that have been released so far this year, and will surprise some when I get around to my annual look at the year at the cinema.

But anyway, I came across this film at random, I can’t even remember how, so I might as well give it a chance…..

Plot

An unnamed man (McCann) has been living alone in a shack for seven years following an apocalyptic event. One day he hears a noise outside and there are two woman, mother and daugther duo Katherine (Fouere) and Milja (Goth). He reluctantly agrees to feed them in exchange for sex with Milja. After a few days he agrees that they can stay permanently, but they secretly want to kill him so that they can take his supplies. Before they can though the man becomes aware of footprints in the mud that don’t belong to any of them.

The group has no choice but to hide from the raiders as there aren’t enough weapons to kill them. Soon after this Milja realises that she is pregnant with the man’s child, and she and her mother again conspire to kill him. A failed abortion attempt later drives the desire to kill him further, but he may soon be their only chance of survival as the raiders return.

So, is it worth the praise on the movie poster?

Films set in a post-apocalyptic environment usually fall under one of two categories, masterful and emotionally engaging, or pretentious nonsense that is full of completely uninteresting characters that are poorly acted. This very much falls into the latter.

Let’s start with the acting of the person who is bizarrely given top billing on a lot of sources, Mia Goth. Goth was in the disastrously bad “A Cure For Wellness” earlier in the year and she was one of the worst things about it. With a gormless look throughout “The Survivalist” and an acting style that screams disinterested bystander, she again repeats being the worst part about a film that is far too long for how dull it is. Had this film had a different actress playing the character of Milja then it might have stood a chance, but they went with someone who can’t stir a single emotion out of herself, let alone making anyone else feel any.

I’d love to know what they’re teaching young actresses at acting school these days because so many of them seem incapable of portraying any emotion that doesn’t involve having a gormless expression on their face, even in the most tense or emotional situation.

Away from the awful acting, the film just isn’t that interesting. “The Survivalist” moves at the pace of a snail and whilst this isn’t always a bad thing in some cases, it definitely is here. For a start it takes nearly 15 minutes for any dialogue to take place, and by that point I was already struggling to get engaged. This is one of the least enthralling post-apocalyptic films I’ve ever seen, and the quotes on the poster definitely don’t reflect what the movie, which has a 100+ minute runtime by the way.

Summary

It’s not engaging, it’s not exciting and it is about as bored as I have been watching a movie that I have reviewed for this site. With one of the worst young actresses working today, the movie never stood a chance of being exciting, and I’m almost tempted to ask for my 100 minutes or so of my life back.

If I was to assign a specific word to this film to be added to the poster, it would simply be “meh”.

I don’t trust him!

Year Released : 2015z_for_zachariah
Director : Craig Zobel
Cast : Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine

In my recent look at the films that I am looking forward to in 2015 I chose this post apocalyptic film starring three of the best young talents in Hollywood today. Margot Robbie in particular has come out of seemingly nowhere in recent years to become one of Hollywood’s hottest properties, and is starring in hit after hit.

I came across the unexpected opportunity to watch Z for Zachariah on Sunday afternoon and took the opportunity as soon as I had the chance, so I am genuinely hoping that it lives up to my hopes.

Some of you may be puzzled as to why I am reviewing a film which will probably be pretty mainstream, it’s because I live in the UK and there hasn’t been a single trailer or TV spot released for this film, and at the time of writing it doesn’t even have a release date. Everyone once in a while I do review films released at the cinemas if I feel that they won’t be well known, and despite the cast I just get that feeling with Z for Zachariah.

 

Plot

Ann (Robbie) lives in the middle of a farm several years after an event that killed off the vast majority of human life. Her farm is in the middle of a valley that was somehow left exempt from whatever wiped out life, and Ann herself is afraid to go out of the valley after her family left, never to return. One day, whilst hunting, she stumbles across a man (Ejiofor) in a radiation suit and follows him as he bathes in a local pool. Ann quickly tries to grab his attention as the waterfall that sources the pool comes from outside the valley and isn’t safe.

The man, who reveals his name to be Loomis, spends the next several days being cared for by Ann as he becomes violently ill. She does eventually nurse him back to health and the two develop a friendship. Whilst exploring the house, Loomis finds a generator and realises that the water from the pool can be used to give the house electricity, although Ann declines the opportunity as it would mean tearing down her father’s chapel.

After the pair decide that they won’t enter a romantic relationship, a man called Caleb (Pine) wanders onto the farm and claims to be from a nearby town called Aston, a town that neither Loomis or Ann have heard of before. Ann eventually relents and agrees to tear down the chapel, and she and Caleb develop start a romantic relationship. Loomis becomes jealous of the two and starts to use any opportunity he can to wedge them apart, but will the perfect opportunity to take Caleb out of the picture be taken?

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Worth the wait?

In many ways yes, the film isn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but they get a lot of what they attempt right.

I’m going to start off by something that always disappoints me in films like this. In a lot of post apocalyptic films there are a lot of stereotypes, such as characters trusting no-one but themselves, the characters having a radio with no-one to talk to and all vehicles well beyond the state of working, but the one that always pisses me off is that films like this are introduced in a way where you think they’re the only ones alive, but it turns out that there are hundreds, if not thousands of survivors that are relatively near by.

One such example being the Will Smith film “I Am Legend”. The film is presented in a way where Will Smith is the only man left alive, but they cop out of this and start introducing a lot of new characters by the end, and it feels wasted and it would have been more poetic to have the character finish as the only one alive. In many cases it feels like a deus-ex machina because without the new characters being introduced in “I Am Legend”, the film wouldn’t have been able to finish with a seemingly natural conclusion.

“Z for Zachariah” is not like that at all. You go into it being shown that there are only three characters, and there genuinely are only three characters in the entire run time of just over 90 minutes. There are no other characters introduced at any point, not even in any flashbacks (of which there are none, which is another stereotype), and this is definitely refreshing in so many ways. The film presents itself as only having three characters and it sticks at that. It doesn’t try and get fancy, it just does what it says on the tin.

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So based on that, I might as well talk about the performances of both actors and Robbie in turn as it won’t need going into at length.

I like Margot Robbie, I think she is an excellent actress and has a natural charisma, however, in both of her previous mainstream roles (The Wolf of Wall Street and Focus), she has been cast in roles where using her sexuality is a prominent characteristic, especially in the former of those two films, but in “Z for Zachariah” there is nothing sexualised about her character whatsoever (I’m not even entirely convinced that she is wearing any make up during the film) and allows Robbie more freedom to just act. Her character doesn’t dress in a feminine way, expect for the odd scene here and there where she is in a dress, and she gets to betray this independent, if still somewhat vulnerable character.

Pine, despite having the shortest screentime of the three, still imposes his mark on the film very well and you can tell that he has experience in the genre (the film Carriers, which I still review one day) via the use of mannerisms and body language use. Caleb is an interesting character as you’re never entirely sure of exactly what his true intentions are, and Pine plays on that so well. Without going into it so much that it gives you a spoiler, it’s almost perfect that the character’s fate is left very open.

Despite the more than adequate performances of Robbie and Pine, it is Ejiofor that arguably steals the show and has the most varied character. The character changes more than any of the others and therefore Ejiofor gets the most to work with, and he does well in showing each side of Ejiofor, ranging from his happiness and flirtations with Ann, right to when he almost hits for whilst drunk and the way that he becomes exceedingly jealous when he realises that he has lost his chance with Ann. The internal conflict in the final scene he shares with Caleb is portrayed beautifully.

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Away from the characters, the filmmakers got the look and feel of the film spot on. The feeling of isolation and loneliness if felt throughout the film, especially when Ann is walking around the town and even from the absolute basics, you can tell that she’s been on her own for a long time, such as the irony of a sign on the side of a repair shop being broken. The cinematography is outstanding and as good as the acting in a film of this nature is, I would argue that the look is far more important and I can’t praise it enough.

The soundtrack is haunting and adds to that almost hopeless feel that inevitably comes from post-apocalyptic films, right from the haunting ambient tones to the haunting melody that Ann plays over and over again on the church organ.

The strange thing is that I didn’t feel particularly entertained by the film, but looking back at it I can’t really point out a single negative, the movie just works

Summary

As I mention above, I wasn’t overwhelming entertained by Z for Zachariah, but it is an astonishingly well made and well acted film. I can’t put a finger on a single thing that I didn’t like and yet I feel no urge to ever watch it again, but aside from that is it one of the better films that I have seen for a while.approved

Pine, Robbie and Ejiofor all put in excellent performances and all successful show why they are all Hollywood A-listers at this moment in time. Each brings their own little twists to their characters and Robbie in particular comes out of the stereotype set by her characters in previous films, showing her flexibility and chameleonic availability.

I have no idea if this will actually get released in UK cinemas, but if it does then I would recommend giving it a chance. It’s length is just long enough to feel like your time and money is well invested, without getting to a length that feels ridiculously long.

No-one’s going to die!

Year Released : 2015e699128dbdc3caa5a3f559aca4996b6a
Director : Miguel Angel Vivas
Cast : Matthew Fox, Jeffrey Donovan and Quinn McColgan

Before I start the usual mini-section before the review, I just wanted to take a moment to thank those of you that sent me “get well soon” messages after my hand injury. Fortunately the injury hasn’t kept me away as long as I, or indeed the doctor, thought it would, and whilst I still have restricted movement in my hand, it is now only mildly uncomfortable to type rather than agonising. So thank you 🙂

Right, onto the review and as usual, I write this before I actually want the film and one actor who hasn’t quite lived up to previous acclaim in recent years is Matthew Fox. Fox was lauded by many on the TV show “LOST”, playing the central character of Jack. He had big parts in films such as Vantage Point and “Extinction” marks his first scene since what was effectively a cameo of about five seconds in World War Z. He is rumoured to be returning in the sequel to that film, but at the moment only Brad Pitt has been confirmed to the cast.

Fox, unlike co-star (and arguably Lost’s female lead) Evangeline Lilly, has failed to make an impact on the big screen, but Extinction, despite having a very limited release, might regenerat his otherwise lagging career.

I had been looking forward to Extinction since first seeing the trailer several months ago and when I got the very unexpected chance to watch it, I jumped at the chance. I hope it’s worth the wait…..

Plot

Following on from an outbreak of an unknown virus, Patrick (Fox) is travelling with his wife Emma (Valeria Vereau), infant daughter Lu (played by McColgan as an older child), best friend Jack (Donovan) and several dozen others when an infected man breaks into the bus carrying them all. The infection spreads quickly and all but the aforementioned are killed quickly, however, Emma is infected and an amputation is required.

Nine years later the infection has wiped out the vast majority of the population and the world has been thrown into a permanent state of winter. In the nine years that have past, Patrick became an alcoholic and was responsible for Emma’s death, and in his grief he was reckless and Jack took Lu away from him, driving a seemingly irreversible wedge between the two. Jack has raised Lu as his own, teaching her things such as maths, but also keeping her locked within the house and the surrounding fortified fence.

Believing that all of the infected are now dead, the three live in isolation, although in two different houses, however, when Lu spots an infected man feeding, things start to change. Patrick saves Jack and Lu from an attack by the infected man the next day, and the three realise that they must unite to survive. They set out to find other survivors, but they soon have bigger things to worry about.

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Is it Fox’s return to the big time?

I sincerely hope so because Fox is fantastic as Patrick. Despite being arguably the star, I was never a massive fan of Fox in LOST, but he completely won with me over with his performance as Patrick. Whilst the character does lose something once he gives up alcohol, Fox’s portrayal of him is one that I would go as far as say it was made for him, and the character wouldn’t have worked with any other actor.

It’s not the first time in his career that Fox has played an alcoholic character, with it being one of Jack’s main characteristics in the flashbacks in LOST (have I mentioned LOST yet?), but he just has a completely different vibe about him in Extinction due to the more grief driven drinking, rather than simply drinking for drinking’s sake.

I do feel a sense of unfairness though because in a small cast of what is just three characters for the majority of the film, it’d be harsh to single out a single cast member, especially as Donovan also provides a high-competent performance as Jack, but Fox still stands out.

Fox starts this film as he means to go on as he shows a great emotional range within the first few minutes of the film.

Extinction has arguably the best opening scene of any film that I have reviewed on this site so far, with an initial level of suspense that it aided by Fox’s ability to perfectly portray being terrified, and then right into the unadulterated chaos that follows. By the time the opening scene ends, exactly ten minutes (down to the very second) has gone by, and I write this sentence at the end of those ten minutes, and I am immensely impressed. It was arguably the best opening to film that I have seen since Michael Fassbender’s “Shame” several years back.

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The infected present a credible threat to the film’s characters as even though they aren’t plentiful in number and are hindered by a lack of sight, they still do surprisingly well when attacking their prey. Even going into the final scene I am unsure of what I am about to watch as they have been presented as unpredictable and chaotic, which is what I want from my movie monsters.

I don’t want antagonists that are predictable and you know exactly what’s going to happen, I was enemies that I feel could actually kill their prey without it feeling forced. There are many reasons for this and that is that they can pounce on even the slightest sound. This isn’t like traditional zombie films in which they have to see you before they’ll chase you, they’ll find you based on your heartbeat, and that is just as terrifying.

Arguably the most enjoyable aspect of the infected is that although they are a threat, they’re not treated as the be-all and end-all of the film, and the movie is very much character driven. With so few characters it would be easy to concentrate too much on violence, but the film-makers spend time developing the characters and this is what I want from my films. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, what’s the point of a high body count if I don’t care about the characters that are dying?

Don’t get the impression that Extinction is original though as there isn’t a single original thing about it. Now don’t get me wrong and bare with me because this isn’t actually meant as a negative. Normally I spend a lot of time moaning about films not being original, but Extinction does a good job because it borrows a lot of elements from films without actually ripping them off entirely, for example, here are some similar aspects to this film that are common place;

  • The weather is permanently in one specific season (usually in summer in most other similar films)
  • A survivor broadcasts on his radio in the hope that someone listens (similar to I Am Legend)
  • A survivor has a dog that is his best/only friend (similar again to I Am Legend)
  • The wintery setting against a seemingly unstoppable enemy (similar to 30 Days of Night)
  • Infected that evolve, either mentally or physically (Land of the Dead, Doom, etc)
  • Blind enemies that have evolved to hunt on sound (the Descent)
  • The main characters finding a couple that has committed suicide to prevent getting infected (28 Days Later)

 

I’m sure you get the idea. Even though there wasn’t a shred of originality to the film, it worked because although it borrowed elements, it wasn’t a blatant rip off and it just worked because of this. I will never criticise a film for borrowing certain elements from other films, it’s when it’s an unapologetic rip off that I start getting pissed off about.

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There are a few odd moments here and there regarding Lu and which she has some very odd characteristics, and at times reflects the early signs of being a sociopath. Such examples including destroying Jack’s watch simply because he didn’t believe her that she saw someone who was infected, or when she mockingly asked Patrick what country the Great Wall of China is in. I can actually forgive the early signs of her being a sociopath for the simple reason that it would drive anyone crazy being stuck in a house with one person for the first nine years of your life and not being allowed to go anywhere.

And whilst I didn’t want to end on negatives because the film doesn’t deserve them, I’m going to end with a second and third, although much like the first one above, neither are major ones. Towards the end a fourth survivor is introduced, imaginatively credited as “Woman”, played as Clara Lago, and whilst it adds a bit more to a potential body count, you can literally take the character out of the film and be left with pretty much the exact same film. She offers nothing at all the movie, tone, development or progression of the film, and I’d have preferred them not to introduce a new character at all. The fact that they didn’t even give her a name should tell you all that you need to know.

There is also a character that only communicates to Patrick over the radio, taunting him about his life, but you never once learn who that character actually is. Once he starts sobering up, Patrick turns his radio off during one of the sessions of getting abuse, showing that he is no longer desperate to fill his life with just anyone to talk to, but again, who was that guy? It’s an unresolved plot point and whilst not pivotal to the storyline (much like “Woman”) I am curious as to who it was.

However, the fact that the only three negatives that I can think of are so minor is a good thing.

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Summary

I’m getting a run of them recently and I couldn’t be happier about it, and by that I am referring to films which I can give my seal of approval to. Much like Exit Humanity, this film is character driven and the action sequences feel secondary, almost to the point where you forget that you’re watching a horror film. With a run time of just over 105 minutes, I was sat there wapprovedanting more, and that’s saying something.

Matthew Fox is superb and whilst he’s not the only one who puts in a good showing, he steals the show as the alcoholic Patrick, and it was one of those performances that I would describe as changing your perception of an actor. Much like Jake Gyllenhaal did with Nightcrawler, Fox changed my opinion of him with this portrayal, taking him from an average actor, to one that I can see a great deal of potential in.

Don’t go into this film expecting non-stop, wall to wall action, because you’re not going to get it. Instead you’re going to get a very enjoyable experience watching it. Extinction may not be original, infact there’s very little about it, but after 105 minutes I can only think of a few minor faults and that is something that I don’t get to say often at all.

 

 

Year Released : 2015AQG7l3v
Director : Henry Hobson
Cast : Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin and Joely Richardson

I’m about to do something that I have never done before and that is review a film that has yet to be released in the UK that is due for a cinema release. Having friends in various film companies, I occasionally get DVDs of films that haven’t come out yet and I get to enjoy them long before most people do. For example, I first saw The Theory of Everything in October 2014, a few months before it was released. I chose not to review that film (although I wish I had as it was exceptional), but I’ve gone with this because at the moment it isn’t well known in the UK, that despite it’s prolific main star.

I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan of Schwarzenegger. It’s very rare that I have watched a film of his and been impressed with his performance. The only exceptions that I can think of are as the Terminator in, well I’m sure you can guess which franchise that is. The reason for this is because due to his accent, Schwarzenegger does sound a bit robotic in terms of his speech and delivery of lines, so it felt like a good match.

I’m going into this film without really knowing a lot about the plot as I tend to find that’s working for me a lot recently. I didn’t even watch the trailer, which is very unusual for me, although I am guessing from the poster that this is something to do with zombies, I just hope that is isn’t filled with clichés.

I am also aware that this is considerably higher profile than films I normally review. Just to put people’s minds at ease, I won’t be switching to mainstream films permanently, although as I have previously mentioned, if I think that it’s worth including then I will, but it won’t be often.

Also, just to make it easier, I am going to refer to him throughout the review as Arnie because, quite frankly, Schwarzenegger is too complicated and long to write on a regular basis.

Plot

Wade (Arnie) finally finds her daughter, Maggie (Breslin) after several weeks of looking. He quickly realises that she has been bitten by someone who was infected with a deadly virus and he is advised to get her quarantined as soon as possible. He decides to ignore the advice and takes her home.

Whilst trying to fend off the infected that are trying to get into their house every now and then, Maggie’s condition continues to degrade and when an accident on a swing ends up in her index finger being severed. The infection is spreading and the only thing keeping her going is her relationship with Wade and her friends, all of whom are also infected.

How long can she last before she succumbs her hunger for flesh?

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So, is it worth the watch when it’s released at the cinema?

Well, it’s hard to say as after watching it, it doesn’t seem like a cinema type film. It’s almost one that would be best if it went straight to DVD. In many ways I liken it to similar film by the name of Carriers, staring Chris Pine. Carriers is a similar film in many ways that was also release at the cinema, but didn’t really feel like it should have been. Now, this might be because I am watching this at home rather than at a cinema but it just doesn’t feel like something that belongs in a cinema.

The film starts off exceptionally slow and not a lot is really happening. It takes a long time (relatively) to get past the logos that normally come at the beginning of a film. I can’t really put this in a way that will some it up better than saying it in a way that one of my favourite Youtube channels would say. So with that, as Cinema Sins would say, “68 seconds of logos” *ding*. Now, I know 68 seconds isn’t a long time but you’re just sat there waiting for them to end so you can actually watch the film, and it just takes a long, long time.

Even after that, it takes a while to get into the film and at the time of writing, I am nearly 20 minutes into the film and other than Wade taking Maggie home after she has gotten infected. Not a lot has happened.

Joely Richardson and Arnie share precisely no chemistry whatsoever. Richardson is one of the few actresses I actually find to be talented and she has great flexibility in terms of the roles she is capable of playing, but there is just nothing there with Arnie. The two seem like strangers that have been put together, and given that they’re supposed to be man and wife, that’s never a good thing.

Arnie isn’t given many lines and that works quite well for the most part. Whilst I don’t think he’s  a great actor, Arnie is great at looking ponderously into the middle distance and full of regret. The character spends most of his time in the movie doing pretty much exactly that. I think the film found the best way to use Arnie in his later years (the nice way of putting it) and there are long spells where he is not in the film at all.

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Abigail Breslin is her predictable self. Breslin, much like Dakota Fanning, has almost struck me as one of those child stars that has grown up believing all of the hype around them, that despite their talent being very limited. She is a bit bland as Maggie and I find it hard to really care about or feel sorry for a character that rarely shows and semblance of giving a shit about her situation. She gets infected in the very first scene (actual infection isn’t seen) and after that, for the most part, it doesn’t seem to impact her life at all, and I think this is down to Breslin’s uninspiring and unemotional portrayal.

It would seriously help Breslin if she showed emotion every now and then. Just before the hour mark one of her friends is telling her a sad story about a family member being killed and all Breslin can manage is a “do I give a fuck?” look on her face.

So onto the positives and the first is something that always bugs me in zombie style/post-apocalyptic films, everyone is always perfectly clean. For example, in the Resident Evil franchise, the character of Alice always finds time in between fighting the zombie hoards to change her hair style and colour on a regular basis. In all five of the films released to date, her hair is different in a major way to the previous entry.

Maggie doesn’t follow that trend though as everyone looks dirty and sweaty. Wade looks like he hasn’t had a shower in a long time and it reflects that in a post-apocalyptic world, there are far more important things that making yourself look presentable.

There were several parts of the plot and one of the highlights for me was in the middle of the film when Maggie goes for a check up. The doctor gives her the typical bedside manner and gives her her chances, before admitting to Wade that he has lied and that she doesn’t have much time left at all. It makes you wonder to what extent the medical professional lying has actually impacted the infection spreading.

The colour palette that is used is dull and somewhat lifeless, and this combined with the atmosphere of the film puts you into a truly bleak world and gives you a distinctive lack of hope for the characters. There are no bright colours, not even with the clothes, and it feels like a world that is dying. Infact, the only real colour use is yellow, as everything else feels almost grey.

Acoustically the film is perfect and the subtle soundtrack is very effectively. It makes you feel everything that you’re supposed to feel in that moment and this is unlike a lot of other films that I have watched in any genre. There are plenty of scenes, such as one where Wade is walking through a field near the beginning of the film and the score makes it seem impossible to hope for a brighter future, which brings you truly into the world of the characters. That is exactly what a score is supposed to do.

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Summary

Whilst Maggie struggles to really deserve more than a straight to DVD release, it’s not an awful effort in terms of direction and artistic merit. It certainly looks the part and the few sets that are used are used very well. However, the plot does not work and the film falls rather flat. Breslin portrays her character poorly, although the character isn’t exactly great to begin with and it felt almost like 90 minutes that I had wasted.

I think the best word to describe the film is disappointing. It’s very flat and never really feels like it’s getting going. It takes more than a good atmosphere and an appropriate look to make a film good, and unfortunately this has all of the style, but virtually no substance behind it.

I would recommend that when this does come out at the cinema, you avoid it as it’s one of the least exciting and engaging zombie style films in recent years.

I fear for all the souls and pieces of shit that try and get into this house tonight.

Year Released : 2011The_Day_(film)_poster
Directors : Douglas Aarniokoski
Cast : Dominic Monaghan, Ashley Bell, Shannyn Sossamon, Shawn Ashmore and Cory Hardrict

There are very few actors that I enjoy watching more than Dominic Monaghan. For me he is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood and his refusal to be typecast in anything wins my respect. He was fantastic in “Lord of the Rings” and amazing to watch as Charlie in “Lost” and so when I saw a trailer for “The Day” when watching the Blu-Ray of the recently reviewed “[REC] Genesis, I hoped that it wasn’t well known so that I could review it, and it wasn’t.

I hadn’t heard of “The Day” outside of the aforementioned Blu-Ray before and I was quite excited, as I am with most post-apocalyptic films, and the fact that the trailer didn’t tell me a lot about the film itself, including anything of the plot other than people hiding in a house and trying to stop others getting in. For me that lead to a good level of intrigue and for the first time I am reviewing a film without even knowing anything other than a general outline of the plot beforehand. For me that is exciting and is what I enjoy about watching new films.

I even write this before I’ve started watching the film so I could be getting this excited over nothing, but I guess we’ll find out. I must admit that the ratings on various movie websites (went on for the purposes of getting screenshots) didn’t leave me very optimistic ahead of time but I didn’t read any reviews, meaning that for once I get to watch a film with nothing influencing my opinion before I’ve even seen it.

The one thing I would say is that this is not a horror film, there aren’t any real horror elements to it. I know the poster and the trailer make it seem like a horror movie but it really isn’t.

Plot

A group of survivors from a post-apocalyptic event travel the road together and search for a place to start a new life.They stumble across a farmhouse that seems to be the answer to their problems, including having weeks worth of food in the basement. The situation soon turns sour when the group try and remove the food, only to set off a trap set by cannibals that kills Rick (Monaghan).

After the remaining four kill the cannibals that respond to the trap being triggered, they are forced into an internal conflict when one of the group, Mary (Bell) turns out to be a former member of a clan of cannibals. She is tortured to breaking point and even after they let her live, they aren’t sure that she can be trusted.

With the trust levels running extremely low and the fact that they can’t run away because the cannibals will track them down easily, they only have one choice and that is to stand and fight.

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Just your typical post-apocalyptic film or actually decent?

There have been many takes in recent years on what the world would be like after an apocalyptic event. Some of them have been excellent, such as “Carriers” (which will be reviewed in the future), “The Book of Eli” and a few others, on the flip side there have been some shocking ones and I think one of the problems is that most post-apocalyptic films are very similar to one another and the genre has become over-used, almost to the point where you think you’ve seen everything before.

Obviously without an apocalyptic ever having happened to humans it is impossible to say what a post-apocalyptic world would be like and how people would interact with each other. There has been a good mix of views on this, some more realistic than others and I think that this is presented in that group.

It holds no punches at any points and starts off with Adam raiding the house of a family that has been brutally murdered. Right there and then, within the first 67 seconds of the film you get a great idea of the world that the characters are living in and the lengths that they need to go to to survive. Within the next few seconds you realise that they’re not only having to resort to those lengths but also having to avoid unseen enemies who are going to kidnap them if they get the chance.

I loved that it didn’t use cliches. There is a scene are 11 minutes where they believe that there may be enemies in the house that they have broken into, one of them and goes to explore. They re-emerge and say “clear” and in most films you would expect someone to suddenly come out and attack them, but it doesn’t go down that route and I found that quite refreshing.

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The characters are delightfully written, right down from reflecting on the past and having a generally optimistic nature, which isn’t common in post-apocalyptic films, right through to enjoying the little things, such as when it starts raining on they use it as a rare opportunity to have a shower. The characters know how to be serious whilst also having the ability to have a more likable side, and without being given much flexibility because of the situation they’re in, it’s nice to see characters that aren’t one-dimensional, which again has been a problem in other post-apocalyptic films.

I love that the characters are optimistic about things and believe that there is a way out of their situation. In most similar films it’s all doom and gloom, but in this the characters not only enjoy the little things but also have positive plans for the future. The characters don’t accept their fate, or indeed the fate of the world and it’s nice to see that they deal surprisingly well with their situation.

Even the antagonists have more than one dimension, which is something that definitely doesn’t happen regularly. The leader of the cannibal clan is very loyal to his family and when he son is killed, he develops a more human element to his character and isn’t only interested in creating violence for the sake of being violent, which is

Dominic Monaghan is again produces a fine performance and is memorable before his character dies at the 30 minute mark after being impaled by a spike, but I was definitely surprised by Shawn Ashmore’s contribution to the film. It’s the first chance I’ve had to see him in a darker role after he playing one dimensional good guys in the X-Men series and “Frozen” (the good one, not the Disney film) and he does very well as the troubled Adam. The two have an excellent on screen relationship and chemistry, you actually believe it when another character says that they have known each other since childhood. It would have been interesting to see the pair develop had Rick not been killed early on.

Ashmore is incredible throughout, with the standout scene being where he is torturing Mary, seemingly taking a genuine delight in trying to force a cannibal to eat their own flesh. It only lasts for about two minutes but is an incredible piece of acting and it’s the first time I have been truly impressed with Ashmore.

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For once I loved the soundtrack of a film that’s not well known. It doesn’t happen often, with “Exit Humanity” being my favourite example, but “The Day” does an excellent job with it’s soundtrack and the opening title sequence has a song that reminds me a lot of the main score in another post-apocalyptic film,”The Book of Eli”. Some movies that I’ve reviewed recently have had horrendous soundtracks and scores, but it works excellently in “The Day” and creates a very interesting atmosphere. The music isn’t used inappropriately at all and doesn’t feel like it’s trying to force you to feel a certain emotion when the film doesn’t call for it, which is something that a lot of films try to get away with (playing dramatic music when nothing is happening for example).

My one criticism of the film is that when the characters are battling with the cannibals at the end of the film it is so dark that is hard to tell which character is which when they’re fighting.

Summary

I actually genuinely enjoyed this film. Much like “Exit Humanity” I think the only reason that it has a low score on film review websitesapproved is because there isn’t a lot of action and a lot of people aren’t interested in watching something that isn’t outright action all the way through. A lot of the movie going public these days love to just sit back and be entertained with action for hours on end, and whilst that isn’t a bad thing, if I don’t give a crap about the characters then why should I give a crap if they die or not?

I’m not going to sit here and claim it’s the best film I’ve ever seen but as far as post apocalyptic films go, it’s one of the more entertaining and has been executed with care and attention, which again is something that I think is more valuable than letting a computer do all of your work for you and relying solely on that (hello Transformers).

If you’re prepared to invest 90 minutes of your time in watching a good film then I would recommend this as it’s got three very distinct chapters, each with their own good merits.

I am willing to risk everything to change the future!

Year Released : 2014Untitled
Directors : Eric Small
Cast : Riley Smith, John Schneider, James Harvey Ward, Peter Winkfield and Jay Montalvo.

It takes a lot for me to turn off a film before the end but “10,000 Days” just joined that extremely exclusive club. Granted, it was only just before the end but I had put up with it for far too long by this point and couldn’t take anymore. For me this was one of the worst films I’ve ever watched, even when compared to “Zombeavers”, “Frank” and several others that I have reviewed for this site as at least those films didn’t leave me bored, they made me feel something….anger more than anything….but at least it was something. I was emotionally engaged in those films and as awful as they were, they at least had that, “10,000 Days” doesn’t.

I must admit that I got quite excited about “10,000 Days”. It wasn’t because it looked good, it wasn’t because it sounded like an interesting story (although it did to be fair), it was because it doesn’t, at the time of writing, even have a page on Wikipedia, it is extremely obscure. Even some of the films I thought were obscure that I’ve reviewed previously have had Wikipedia pages, but the only results for the term “10,000 Days” are two albums. The fact I’ve even had to create my own screenshots tells it’s own story about how obscure it is.

Much like many other films that debut on the SyFy channel, “10,000 Days” uses it’s limited budget on poor special effects and has exceptionally poor acting skills, but unlike most of the other films, this isn’t entertainingly bad, this is just outright bad. Films such as “Sharknado” or “The Room” (not from the SyFy channel but is a similar film in terms of acting) are at least amusingly bad, you can laugh at them for being so bad. This is bad without giving you the enjoyment factor of the aforementioned.

PLOT

27 years ago a comet hit the Earth and created a new ice age. Several families gathered together but then split up after an argument and now fight for control of an indoor facility, especially as the ice seems to be thickening.

One day, following an accident, members of the Beck family find a boy from the enemy group and because instantly suspicious, whereas Remy is convinced that the Becks have kidnapped him.

The Becks soon discover a frozen Air Force One and the control system for America’s old weapons. As the Becks plan to release a nuclear weapon to try and end the ice age, Remy’s group plans an attack to not only reclaim the boy, but to end the war once and for all.

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Dull, with an extra portion of bland

Very unusual start as the main character does an opening speech about what happened immediately after the comet struck, but he actually does it whilst being visible on screen. This is highly unusual as it’s usually done as a voiceover in numerous other films, so at least they’re trying something new. It does switch over for a brief moment into being a voiceover for a fight that actually looks visually impressive, presented in a similar style to the fighting in “300” before then ending in a stupid manner.

Infact, the film obviously tries to resemble “300” whenever a battle scene is happening. It’s presented in a similar style and in slow motion and with elements such as snow being shown in a louder definition than what’s around it, which is definitely very similar to the aforementioned, the difference is that the fights in “300” keeps you interested and astounded by them, whereas nothing really happens in the fights or battles in “10,000 Days”. They aren’t tense, they aren’t violent and they are just aren’t enthralling enough.

Whilst you can actually give credit to the film for actually trying in terms of it’s visual presentation, the acting quality leaves a lot of be desired and the effort they’ve put into the fights is not replicated to even a remotely interesting level.

The first discussion between the major characters feels almost rushed, there’s not a gap between characters speaking, no gap whatsoever, and it is hard to keep up in many ways. Don’t get me wrong, in many ways it is an aspect of real life where conversations can just flow well without gaps, but in a film you need that so you can keep up.

That sums up most of the film quite well as it moves as such a pace that you’re barely given chance to catch up with or process what is happening before they’re onto the next cave collapsing, fight starting, argument happening or anything of a similar nature. It’s hard to sit back and enjoy because you’re having to concentrate permanently and not  just relax into the film.

For me that is a big problem as there are a lot of films that do require you to concentrate all of the way through to understand what’s going on, such as “Inception” but the difference is that you want to follow what’s happening in that film as you’re engaged into the story.

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None of the characters are particularly interesting and Remy, the main antagonist, is one of the least threatening, interesting or emotionally involving bad guys in the history of cinema. The greatest films have amazing antagonists, such as Joker in “The Dark Knight”, Norton in “The Shawshank Redemption” and Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. They are excellent antagonists because of their impact on the protagonist, the excellent acting or the emotional involvement you have with them, none of those apply to Remy. He is just there. He’s one of the least engaging antagonists in the history of film as far as I’m concerned.

The soundtrack is atrocious, or at the very least atrociously used. Moments that could have been genuinely tense are reduces to mere parodies of anything resembling terrifying because of the music, and there is very few scenes without music in them that actually didn’t require them. It became quite tedious. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of music but there has to be a purpose to it.

That is easily the biggest criticism of the film that I can throw at it, and is probably the biggest sin of any movie is that it’s boring. It is exceptionally dull and after just 25 minutes I was already counting down time for it to end (the things I do for you lot). I just felt no connection to the characters, wasn’t invested in the story and for lack of words, I was bored.

I’m not even entirely sure what to class this film as in terms of genre. It’s not a comedy (well, other than the acting), it’s not a horror, it’s not a drama, maybe a science fiction so I really have to go with that, and that’s a bad sign when you have to wonder what the genre is.

Just to r0und off all the negativity, there are poor attempts at comedy, such as finding a chocolate bar from a fictional company with an army ranking name and the young adult characters thinking that the soldiers would make chocolate bars in their spare time. It was an attempt at being funny that didn’t really pay off and ultimately fell very flat.

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It’s not all negative however and there are one or two moments that I did actually quite like.

An aspect that I did like was that the characters who were around before the comet hit get nostalgic of how the world used to be, such as one character remembering a trip to Aruba, only for the other person to say that it means nothing to them because they weren’t around back then. It’s quite an interesting concept in many ways and is probably very true to what it would be like.

There are several scenes like that, or scenes where the younger members of the groups discover objects but don’t know what they are, such as a young woman, probably around 20 years old, finding a bra in a plane (as you do) and looking at it completely puzzled.  Again, this would be quite realistic and is definitely a generational thing.

Summary

It’s hard to feel strongly about the film in either a good or bad sense because it doesn’t get me emotionally invested in the story or the characters. The danger feels forced rather than a genuine threat and ultimately it makes it very difficult to feel anything but uninspired.

The antagonists never seem particularly threatening to the protagonists and the characters aren’t very well developed. Even when they’re on a crashed plane that’s plunging into the ice after a tremor, it’s hard to feel anything significant either way and you genuinely don’t care if the characters survive or not.

Films live and die on their ability to make you feel anything, or at least keep you entertained, and this film fails miserably in both respects.