By Jessica Dwyer
Extinction isn’t your typical zombie fare or film. It has two male leads and a little girl who are the focus of the story. Typically in a film with two nice looking actors like Matthew Fox and Jeffrey Donovan the focus of the film will be a love triangle…and in a way it is…but not the typical sort.
Patrick (Fox) and Jack (Donovan) have managed to out last a zombie plague that seems to have swept the world. They’ve headed as far north as possible and due to the lack of people still living the snow and ice that buffets the town of Harmony has turned the area into a sort of mini ice age over 9 years. In that time Lu (Quinn McColgan) Jack’s daughter has grown up never being allowed out of the house further than the screened in yard.
Next door lives Patrick who, while great at hunting, isn’t so much with the sanity or not drinking himself to death. He has a dog who hunts with him, and doesn’t communicate with Jack or Lu…even though they are neighbors.
As the story plays out you realize that these men have a history together and it centers around Lu and her mother. In a way this story is the main focus of the film…the zombie situation is secondary until about half way through the movie.
I really enjoyed Extinction. The structure that director Miguel Vivas uses to tell the story makes it very compelling. The story of Patrick and Jack is a tragic one. And the chemistry between the three leads had to be believable and work for the way this film plays out. You are with the three of them and the three of them only for 90 percent of the movie. And they deliver on these characters.
Donovan and Fox are both excellent here, with Fox playing a character losing his mind and trying to hold onto it for the little girl next door. Donovan plays a man who is desperate to keep the only thing worth living for safe. Lu’s safety is the most important thing in the world and he’s dedicated to keeping a sense of normalcy for her in a world gone to hell.
There’s no explanation for the zombie outbreak…it’s already started when the movie begins. There’s also the evolution of the zombies which is still a relatively new concept. The undead have evolved to their environment and can hunt faster and move quicker. The design for them is pretty fantastic too…and disturbing.
The zombie/creature designs aren’t the only thing visually stunning in the film. The way Vivas shot the film itself is really lovely. The snowscape and lighting, the camera movements during a battle sequence, they are unique for most of your usual zombie fare these days. Not to say there isn’t gore…there is…but that’s not the focus of this. The creep factor and the human side of the story are the focus. But Vivas doesn’t forget to include the importance of making an impact with what is beautiful about this new world.
I’m not ashamed to admit that this film made me openly cry while watching it. It’s got an emotional punch that will hit you square in the chest. Just be prepared for that. This isn’t a typical zombie film just interested in your brains…it’s going for your heart too. And that’s not a bad thing.
Extinction is available now on DVD.