Comments Off on Extinction (2015)
Welcome to another review, folks! It seems the world can’t get enough of zombies: TV shows, movies, dolls, video games, books, it doesn’t matter. So film studios depend upon the word “zombie” to get attention, or some kind of segue into the more mainstream focus. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it should. “Extinction” is one that should get some recognition. Now, before you get your pretenses in place, let’s get a good look at this little movie that could.
This movie began with so much camera shake, I tried to put my seat belt on. Note to directors: Shaky cam is bad. And if the movie DOES call for it: Less is more! A man, his wife, their infant daughter and his best friend are trying to get away from the oncoming zombie apocalypse, that started well before the movie did. They’re on a bus with a large amount of people, and two army guys, all just as terrified as the next person, for good reason: The zombies have caught up! Now the bus is just a meal in a box, as they wait for the inevitable. The first military guy exits the bus, gets eaten, and the second one doesn’t fair any better. One of the gentlemen (who will be a main character later on) takes the lead, and tries to retrieve weapons from the land of jump scares. The first part of this movie is filled with jump scares, so get ready for that, along with neck-breaking shaky cam. For those with a weak stomach, skip this part altogether.
More tragedy strikes! The main characters are in all sorts of trouble; the wife is injured, the baby is covered in blood. Whose blood is it? Tune in next time to find out! Same undead time! Same undead channel! And now that the pulse-pounding beginning is over, prepare for something truly intense: FAMILY BONDING. Here’s where things grind to a halt, changing the pace so hard an airbag would deploy. One minute there’s running zombies, army guys firing guns everywhere, screaming, blood, and violence, and the next it’s father-daughter bonding time in a winter wonderland. While none of this is explained outright, hints are dropped. Get used to this domestic scene, because it lasts longer than most sequels do.
After cycling through survival set-ups, how they’re surviving, and what they’re doing to stay sane, we finally delve into the characters, themselves. It seems the family plus one have made themselves a little outpost: Two houses in a northern climate. across the street from the other, sharing resources, but that’s about it. We see few interactions between the men, as the environment paints the relationship between the two as less than hospitable. The ex-best friend has let all hygiene go, as he’s transformed into Rob Zombie’s crazier and dirtier cousin: Scruffy McCrazyDude, who spends his evenings broadcasting to any survivors out in the frozen wasteland, and getting blind, stinking drunk. Meanwhile, Angry McHostileDad spends hours with his daughter, and all seems right with the end of the world.
But, hey, this is a zombie movie! Where are the zombies? This question is the one I pondered, about the same time everyone else does at this point. The director must have foreseen that, and decided to give us a reminder that it is, indeed, a zombie movie. Scruffy McCrazyDude goes on a supply run to an old haunt, to not only get the little girl a birthday present, but to top off on end of the world stuff. A local piece of wildlife alerts him that things can still live. Then the same piece of wildlife gets eaten like a piece of cake at a two-year-old’s birthday party. Scruffy follows the shadowy creature back to their homestead, where Angry McHostileDad is showing his daughter how to shoot a gun, which attracts the beast.
The zombies at the beginning of the film are typical runners who chase their prey and eat them. The zombies at the second half are completely new: white skin, blank eyes, nude, and they hunt by sound. I like this change, making the creatures evolve with their natural environment, changing the way they hunt. I’m impressed by the switch from Play Doh-caked faces to this new super zombie. But you can’t have zombies without making them a threat. Scruffy defends the little girl from the first attack on the homestead, but gets bitten while Angry leaves him to fate to save his daughter. The three prepare for the worst: Scruffy becomes part of the legion of the undead. But days go by, and nothing happens. It seems these zombies have a glitch: their bite doesn’t turn you. This fortunate, or unfortunate, event leads Angry and Scruffy to make up and be friends, even to the point of going on a supply run together, daughter included.
During their little family trip to the grocery store, we begin to learn about what went down between all the adults in the movie, giving some background to the drama. It’s kind of hard to follow if you haven’t been paying attention, but the gist is there. While the family is shopping, they find a young woman, frozen in terror and ice. They take her back to the honeycomb hideout to find out her story, while discovering that Scruffy didn’t finish off the new zombie. Instead he took a note from “The Walking Dead’s” Michonne and disabled it, chaining it to his house for research. This decision doesn’t sit well with Angry, and things really go downhill. But, as always, no spoilers here, folks. But I will end with this: There’s a hell of an ending.
With the pace a lot slower than most modern horror movies, “Extinction” may be harder for younger audiences to grind through, but old schoolers enjoy the massive character development. There are typical “Why would you do that?!?” moments that every horror movie suffers from, but, show me one that doesn’t. There’s plenty I left out of this review, and for good reason: I want you guys to check this one out. Top-notch gore, acting, creatures, and setup, but it’s a shame it suffers from such a generic name. I recommend this movie, available on Netflix, with a big bucket of popcorn and the lights out. Thanks for reading, folks! And, as always, Stay Tuned!
Watch the trailer for Extinction