Wednesday, April 10, 2024


15 years after some horrible night monsters come up the bowels of the earth, a father is forced to go outside at night to rescue his one son who didn't come home.

Despite the film going off the rails in the second half, I really do like this film a great deal. I think the world building is quite good, and the sense of a post apocalyptic world is stunning. It feels right, more so than any other film. There is a real sense of fear for most of the film. Additionally I don't know when I have ever heard an audience react to a monster reveal as it did happened in this film. It's a messed up moment that had the audience talking to the screen. Despite my quibbles I have to say that when this film works it is true cinematic magic.

The problem is the film has narrative issues that kill the momentum as we try to get our heads around the questions they raise. The first issue is that the main action of the film is set 15 years after the opening bit, the fall of humanity. That's all well and good but it raises all sorts of questions about gas, and cigars and meds being good after a decade and a half. While removing  the "15 years later" card would solve it, you can't cut the opening bit because that moment plays into the ending, giving it all its power. You want to audience to get misty, so you can't cut it. 

The film also goes banana shaped in the second half as things happen just "because". The logic or reasoning of so much is simply not explained (I won't say what less I spoil anything). Pretty much everything that happens from the explosion onward we have to take on faith. I think either they had to trim a boatload of exposition at some point, or they didn't know where to go and just stole things from various 1980's scifi and horror films as well as an infamous one from a Steven Spielberg film.

There is no getting around it the film is a real mess if you think about it, but so many moments do work, the first half, the relationship between the brothers, and their father and Charlotte, the monsters, the world building, the score and some other things are so strong that they carry you past the narrative problems, (and the use of unsteadied hand held cameras) to make this an entertaining, and perhaps a moving film (the statement of a father's love at the end brought a tear to my eye). 

Seriously I liked it enough that I emailed friends and family to say give it a shot.

Worth a look for fans of post-apocalyptic thrillers and cool monsters.

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