THE LAST ONES ** USA 2017 Dir: Andrew Jara. 78 mins
Originally released in 2012 under the name LAST DAYS this was reduced in run time, changed from colour to black & white and re-released as THE LAST ONES in 2017. It follows shy guy John (Mark Ocegueda) and his rather crotchety companion Michael (Algernon D’Ammassa) in the aftermath of a virus which has wiped out the rest of the population or so they believe. Michael takes on the role of protector and they take refuge in John’s house. By day they maintain their stronghold and try to grow their own food, by night Michael guards them from the reanimated corpses of the infected as they come to feed on their flesh. They live like this for nine months until John comes across another survivor, Karina (Marcelle Bowman) when out searching for supplies. Having not eaten a hot meal or showered for months John invites Karina back to theirs and offers her a place to stay for a while. Her arrival changes their dynamics and things escalate very quickly. Above all John and Michael wonder how she has managed this long on her own against the zombies and Karina soon begins to worry about the mental stability of her new housemates.
The 2 star rating I have awarded this movie can be easily explained. I give 1 star for its excellent score and soundtrack by Jordan Schranz and John Lawrence Schick. Schranz’s choice of single instrument incidentals (especially the cello) is incredibly eerie and highly effective with Schicks use of 80’s style B-movie synth themes holding up both ends of the feature particularly well. The other star is for the overall concept of the movie. I liked their thinking and it has a great twist which for a change was not glaringly obvious straight away but the execution was a big let down. It feels very strained and slow from the get go. Their choice of keeping it black and white all the way through was a great nod to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (if that was indeed their reasoning for using it) but it is severely lacking in the character building and zombie departments, you eventually realise why this is the case by the end of the film which is clever but I was forever longing for more frequent zombie action. The zombies you do see are the slow shambling types and because of the colour choice they look okay but don’t have a great deal of detail to them, the slight difference here is that they don’t make any noise and they only seem to come out at night. There is a miniscule amount of gore and pretty much no action bar a coup!e of brief fight sequences. The acting from the small cast is disjointed and poor, with D’ Ammassa coming on far too strong and Ocegueda and Bowman both being wet lettuces which lets this down big time as it is quite a character and dialogue driven movie. The first time I tried watching this was during the day and I felt myself starting to nod off at a mere 12 minutes into it!! My second attempt was more successful and once I was past the first 20 minutes I did get more into it. I’m not sure how much runtime they cut for its 2017 version but I’m glad they did as any longer then it’s 78 minutes would’ve become a struggle to get through. In conclusion it’s a great idea and would probably have been a lot better if it had a bit more momentum, enthusiasm and of course more zombies!!!!
Review by Sarah Budd