Sunday, 25 May 2014
The Sky Has Fallen (2009)
I picked this film up through a kickstarter last year, where they were raising money to be able to enter the movie (which was made several years earlier) into festivals and the like. I've had a fairly good experience with kickstarter movies on the whole, but alas, this does not continue that tradition.
The kickstarter listed two main selling points for the movie. The first was that it uses purely physical effects, with no CGI. That's very rare in low budget film these days, as (terrible) CGI has become much cheaper than doing things 'for real', which is attractive when you're on a microbudget, but leads to awfulness like the blood spatters in Killjoy.
The second selling point was the premise. While it's basically a zombie film, it had a wrinkle or two that sounded like it might do something interesting. So what were those wrinkles, and did the film deliver on the promise of 'something interesting'? (spoiler: no it did not)
A sudden and violent plague has wiped out most of humanity. Some people - what percentage is not said - are immune and thus survive. Unfortunately for those who did not die, things are about to get worse. Black-clad figures follow the plague, torturing and killing any living person they find and then reanimating their corpses as zombie killing machines that they use to hunt the next batch of survivors.
It was the second point, much more than the first, that made me decide to try the film. The addition of a deliberate agency behind the zombies, one that could control the undead and was using them for some purpose, would eliminate one of the common weaknesses of the genre, which is that zombies are more of an environmental hazard or natural disaster than actual villains.
Who are these black figures? Why are they doing what they do? What is their goal? Can they be stopped? These are all obvious questions arising from the premise, and to be fair, they're all questions the film asks ... it just makes no effort to answer any of them.
What we get instead is two people wandering around a forest, having lots of introspective conversations (which tend to be filmed in a most unimaginative shot-reverse shot pattern), while occasionally being interrupted by clumps of zombies. They then massacre the zombies in badly-staged fight scenes before going back to introspection.
Some of the make-up is good, and the two central performances are actually technically decent for the most part, but the cinematography and choreography are poor and the script is awful.