A post-apocalyptic nightmare
Christoph Behl’s debut feature film tells the story of Ana, Jonathan and Axel. Three people living together in a bunker in a post-apocalyptic nightmare. A living hell. They have been forced to adapt in order to survive in a world where the dead walk the earth, spending their days scavenging for food and water.
The threat from outside soon becomes secondary to the complications inside however, as living in such close proximity for an extended period of time sees human emotions begin to rear their ugly head, when fear, love, anger and hatred threaten the status quo of their microcosm. In order to make sense of this new world, the trio capture one of the undead to study and Ana creates a therapy room where they can privately record their personal feelings on a camcorder.
What’s Left of Us will undoubtedly receive some harsh reviews, as I believe it is unfairly being mis-marketed as Sci-fi/Drama or even worse, a zombie movie. Having played Frightfest, genre fans will perhaps think they are settling down to watch a very different type of movie.
In reality, the film is a character study, dealing with complex human relationships that will find far more appreciation amongst the art-house crowd.
Behl obviously had a limited budget to work with. Aesthetically, it’s nothing much to look at (its muted colour palette equates yellow = day and blue = night) and it inevitably works a found footage element in to the proceedings. Where it stands out is with the three strong leading actors. Victoria Almeida’s Ana is our anchor. We see the aftermath of the outbreak and the reality of day-to-day life in close confines through her eyes and it is Ana and Axel’s (Lautaro Delgado) part in the love triangle that is most interesting. Axel is a highly sympathetic character and his arc was interesting to watch. Rounding out the core cast is William Prociuk’s Jonathan who plays an engineer. He serves his purpose here, creating the world the characters inhabit and even later attempting to fix the flaws which see the trio heading for disaster.
This highly artistic film is a slow burn, akin to a contemporary stage play. It’s the kind of thing I would have watched in film studies at university as part of my degree and it is my humble opinion that those with a greater appreciation of film in general should be the film’s intended opinion that those with a greater appreciation of film in general should be the film’s intended audience, not horror fans. That’s not because us horror fans won’t “get it” – it’s because most will likely lose interest along the way. If the plot piques your interest, a far better take on the subject matter can be found in Xavier Gens‘ excellent 2011 effort The Divide.
Review by Phil Davies Brown
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What’s Left of Us is out on DVD and digital download on 11 May