“Here it is folks. It’s happened.”
Story: An impact in the North Atlantic obliterates Western Europe, the East Coast of the United States, and West Africa, with the rest of the world quickly following suit. Australia has 12 hours to prepare for the end of the world. James just wants to get pissed into oblivion, but young Rose – who’s looking for her dad – sends his compassion into overdrive despite his best efforts.
Scares: A few of the jump, and “didn’t expect to see that”, variety.
Splat factor: As the world ends, there’s the usual ol’ ultra-violence. But most splats are a good distance away from the splash zone, rather than in your face.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Nope.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Apocalypse stories are everywhere, but this is an original joint. (Though there are hints of an American remake by Hilditch…)
Trick or Treat?: This is more straight up apocalypse genre than flat-out horror. But if you’re like me and can’t stay away from end of the world stories, I figured why not give this the 31 in 31 treatment? And this film does apocalypse well. From the great opening – phone calls played over a sky full of meteors and fire. Then, later, radio stations layer over each other, warning, pleading, giving updates. And, of course, a thrilling end, with some serious feels in among the horror of watching the world burn.
That yellow filter that Aussie genre filmmakers seem to adore bathes everything in jaundiced sepia here. But while I love me some full color HD, for this film’s story of the end of the world by firestorm? It works. Plus, writer/director Zak Hilditch and cinematographer Bonnie Elliott do a nice job of gradually going from a hint of filter to flat-out yellow tint throughout, showing the progression of the world’s destruction.
The acting is top notch, from the leads to the bit player crazies and hedonists. (Most especially from young Angourie Rice as Rose, who went on to do great work in Nice Guys.) But while I was sucked into James’s story, I really loved how an unnamed “Radio Man” is the film’s off and on narrator, and how his own journey to the end played out through the film.
Catch this one if you can. But maybe play a less serious one after. It’s a beautiful, well crafted downer, but a downer nonetheless.
Score: out of 5 pumpkins.