Wednesday, June 22, 2016

5 Years After The Fall (2016)

This is the second in my series of Sector 5 films that aren't out yet which they sent me for a promo. This one is about a weird dystopian future after some kind of catastrophic accident. There are cannibals and empty, spooky looking houses and gunfights and all kinds of stuff. You know, everything a movie like this needs, except for the replay value, interesting story or characters and any kind of excitement or energy. Fun!

There will be SPOILERS in here for this movie, as it hasn't officially been released as of this review.

Director: Brent Nurse
Starring: Zorba Dravillas, Nicole Garrett, Gabe Meacher

Co-written with Michelle and Mohan.

The movie begins with scenes of disarray and chaos. The first thing you'll notice is that the coloring and lighting in this are pretty bad. I hate to make fun of that aspect too much, as this is a direct to video thing - it isn't like this thing was produced by fucking James Cameron or anything. But pretty much this whole movie looks dull and washed out like it was filmed on a dirty flip phone from six years ago. Not really a very attractive or interesting thing to look at, frankly.

We open with main character Jacobs and some other guy on a train talking about how they ruined everything, and the other guy says they don't have a phone or internet anymore to contact anyone – hell, they barely have two tin cans and a string, he says, which is oddly enough what I thought of the movie's budget when I saw it.

The train crashes and Jacobs escapes. He runs around mostly looking like Steve from Blues Clues in a horror movie, which isn't something I needed to see. The main plot is really pretty basic – he runs around in this wasteland world, like Mad Max set in the suburbs, from a bunch of second rate thugs killing people with machetes, mostly by forcing them to eat the blades slowly like lollipops. Uh, I'm really not sure they know how to use a sword actually.

He runs into a house and hides, but frankly, I'm not sure what he's hiding from. When he finds a bunch of people in the house with guns, armed and ready to kill, he very easily overpowers them and teams up with a girl there who was handcuffed. Makes sense to me – skinny dweebs in collared shirts are basically like the Hulk. He's stronger than he looks!

Oh, and have you ever bemoaned that you don't know what time it is during any other horror movie? Well, this one has you covered. For some fucking bizarre reason, the movie constantly shows you black cutscreens with the time of whatever's happening. I guess in some stories this could serve a point, but sorry if I don't care what's happening at 11:56 p.m. in 5 Years After The Fall.

Most of the rest of the movie is just kind of a tired slog. The guy and the girl hide out in the house and constantly act scared of everything, debating whether to stay there or make a run for it. I don't get why – it isn't like you can't just beat the fuck out of them. He does! Multiple fucking times in this movie, this guy gets attacked by people who look way stronger and more capable then him, but he overpowers them easily and retains his place as the clear King of the World now. But that never stops him from whining and being scared anyway, for some reason.

"Please be intimidated of me!"

There just isn't a lot to say about most of the movie. They banter some more about whether to leave or not. Christ, they're more annoying and stubborn than an old married couple who's been arguing the same shit for the last 30 years. They do manage to take a hostage, so we get to see an old standard for this genre: the scene where the main character barters with the hostage by offering him some candy. But not too much candy – that would potentially give him cavities, and there's no toothpaste left five years after the fall!

There are some scenes of Jacobs shooting children after that, which I guess the logic here is that Jacobs and the chick are trying to win this 'turf war' of sorts with this rival gang outside – it isn't all that clear. It could have been a cool idea to have him distressed and conflicted about how he has to kill kids in this new postapocalyptic world, but I guess there was no time for THAT in this movie with all the other super important stuff going on. One of the big problems with this movie is that you never connect with the characters. There are no attempts to make you feel what they're feeling, so it all comes off as rather hollow.

Frankly, though, the other gang isn't that threatening. They basically just stand on the sidewalk like kids waiting for their mom to show up.

So I guess Jacobs' run as King of the Wasteland ends unceremoniously as he dies before the end of the movie. I didn't see that coming, but then again, I also don't care. So it's a bit of mixed emotions for me – mild surprise and also laconic boredom. It's on part with getting your name called early in a DMV waiting list.

Then we get a flashback sequence that tells us the story we really wanted: that of the chick who has been hiding in the house the whole time. Apparently she once had friends, and they were hiding from the gang across the street until all except for her decided to give up, go over there and let themselves be killed. Either that, or the gang across the house is emitting pheromones that incite people to do this – that would have been cool, but I'm almost positive it isn't what's going on. I just wish it was, because the idea of these people just going over there and letting themselves die is so obscurely strange.

Seriously, why not just take a few pills or hang yourself? Why let a bunch of cannibals eat you? I dunno – this whole sequence is so fucking long and almost hypnotic in tone. It's really very boring, and I almost fell asleep. But as I do need to sleep more, I consider this sequence one of the best in the movie.

The twist, if you can call it that, is that the chick joins up with them, apparently having been her plan all along. I don't know why, though – it seems like she was doing just fine hanging out with the Blues Clues guy, Jacobs, who seemed to just kill anyone he tried to fight with relative ease. He could've been some kind of superhero. But I guess if you like fat, gross cannibal biker-dudes, this is cool too.

The movie just isn't all that great. It's kind of a nothing-film. There wasn't anything terribly, glaringly offensive, and the story and plot maybe had potential, but there just wasn't much to latch onto in terms of engaging themes or nail-biting suspense. It wasn't exciting, and it seems like that's a fairly damning critique in terms of a post-apocalyptic action-horror movie. I'm struggling to think of anything to say about this, really. I mean, I guess you could do way worse? But there's also plenty of better movies out there too.

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