Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Egojo, Riley Keough
Director: Trey Edward Shults
This is an interesting film. In a dystopian future, a plague has wiped out a lot of humanity, and one family, a husband and wife with their teenage son, have isolated themselves in a cabin in the woods to survive. Then another family arrive seeking refuge and help. It’s a huge upset to their delicate balance.
This film is a zombie movie without any zombies. And that’s kind of a hard thing to sell, I think. I know a lot of people were sold the idea that this film was a scary horror and were really disappointed that there wasn’t really any monsters and those kinds of scares. I think that’s down to an ill-advised marketing campaign.
This film is more about the things we do to survive and to protect out family or loved ones. Paul (Edgerton) is a father who has kept his family safe up til this point. They have skills, equipment and strategies that keep them safe, which he dictates. He’s a man whose control has kept his family safe, but is it now threatening to crush them? The family that invades their lives are less regimented, and while Paul’s family takes them in, there’s a sense that you can’t really trust them.
The film explores some themes about isolation and survival. While we lock other people out to remain safe, are we pushing away happiness and connection? Or are we right to not trust people, who could bring disease or competition for resources? It’s also balances the menace nicely between two men who want survival for themselves and their families. It’s not always easy to see who is the enemy here, with one within, the one without, or the one staying in the guest bedroom…
Imdb categorizes it as a Horror or Mystery, it certainly does have those elements, I see it more as a Thriller with horror elements. And I think if you watch it in that light, it’s a really interesting film.
See It If: you’ve ever had that conversation with your family or housemates about how you’d survive a zombie apocalypse. It’s a more thoughtful take on survival and protecting our family.