27 July 2015

EXTINCTION (2015)

EXTINCTION

Working Title:
Welcome to Harmony

Spain / Hungary, 2015
Director: Miguel Àngel Vivas

4/10








Since I first saw director/writer Miguel Àngel Vivas' gobsmackingly shocking "Secuestrados" (a.k.a "Kidnapped") in 2011, I was waiting for this guy to make another movie, hopefully one that would equally shock me out of my socks. Well, the good news: he made another movie! The bad news: I didn't like it.


"Extinction", based on the 2010 novel "Y pese a todo..." (=And despite everything...) by Spanish writer Juan de Dios Garduño, takes place 9 years after a devastating zombie outbreak wiped out most life on Earth, in a forgotten, snow-covered town called 'Harmony' where, a father, his 9-year-old daughter, and their grumpy neighbor try their best to survive. For a long time, their only enemies are the hunger and the cold - but then one day, one of the flesh-hungry zombie creatures finds them and immediately destroys the harmony...

While "Secuestrados" turned the home-invasion genre upside down and sorta revolutionized it, "Extinction" adds absolutely nothing new to the genre and ends up as unnecessarily overlong (110 minutes!), annoyingly dull and bitterly disappointing post-apocalyptic lamefest. At times, it feels like a botched best-of
of end-of-the-world/survival flicks like "The Mist", "Stake Land", "The Quiet Earth" and "Mutants" - at other times, it makes you think that it's simply a prequel to the equally underwhelming "The Colony".


Although the cinematography is really gorgeous (Josu Inchaustegui, "Open Graves"), Vivas' usually-striking visual style is almost non-existent. I was shocked (the only shocking thing about "Extinction"...) about how generic the whole movie looks. Deserted towns, abandoned buildings, well-made CGI snow... that's all very well, but they way it was done here... man, we've seen it all before thousands of times. There's nothing innovative here, nothing that makes it stand out of all the other zombie movies of the last 50 years, or so.

Wait... did I say zombie movie? "Exctinction" actually feels like a family drama about neighbors at loggerheads with some zombies thrown in. The basic story about why the neighbors are quarrelling is interesting, but also very foreseeable, too "Walking Dead"-esque, and therefore damn frustrating. The acting is good (Matthew Fox from "Lost", Jeffrey Donovan from "Burn Notice"), but the characters are either one-dimensional or plain annoying (Quinn McColgan, you little brat!).


Anything else to say? Well, Sergio Moure's ("Kidnapped", "Game of Werewolves") epic score is a marvellous treat for the ears, the tense 10-minute opening is simply fantastic and I love the scene where one of the characters passes by an abandoned cinema that was playing "At The Mountains of Madness" - yet, overall, "Extinction" is a massive, massive letdown.


Thanks to Jacki St. Thomas (Prodigy PR) for the screener!

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