Having left his dangerous job with the UN, Gerry Lane has been enjoying a quieter pace taking care of his daughters. On a seemingly normal day while sitting in traffic, a police officer goes speeding past and breaks Gerry’s side-view mirror. Getting out, he notices that traffic is at a standstill but people are getting a little aggravated. When accidents and panic ensues, he speeds away behind a garbage truck to get out of the chaos. People appear to be running away from something, which he then sees is a strange reaction causing normal people to become crazed, flesh-hunting maniacs. While they get out of the city, they find that the syndrome is spreading fast and nowhere is safe. During the chaos, an old friend from the UN is trying to get in touch with Gerry to find a way to help him but bring him into the fold of figuring out what to do about the pandemic.
Starring: Brad Pitt (Gerry Lane), Mireille Enos (Karin Lane), Sterling Jerins (Constance Lane), Abigail Hargrove (Rachel Lane), Fana Mokoena (Thierry Umutoni), James Badge Dale (Captain Speke), Daniella Kertesz (Segen), Ludi Boeken (Jurgen Warmbunn), Elyes Gabel (Andrew Fassbach)
This is not the average zombie film, which means that the presentation brings a different focus for the actors. Pitt had a less action-based role and had to find a way to be protective and courageous while exhibiting more of a sense of intelligence and cunning. Enos did not have the same level of impact but was clearly able to project a sense of fear and care for her children. The rest of the cast was strong in character, but the weakest element had to be the zombie actors. In the scenes that were not CGI’ed, some of the actors appeared welcome masked in the undead sense while others were a bit comical (which was not the intention of the director).
Marc Forster’s horror survival film was a bit different from many others but there was much to be familiar in its presentation of a zombie apocalypse. While the books looked more at the “patient zero” story, the sheltering of Jerusalem and the continued war over 7 years, the focus on Gerry’s story alter the presentation of these elements. The film took more of a discovery focus, with the survivors trying to figure out what was going on and if there was any hope for them to continue their survival. Traveling to the projected site of “patient zero,” Gerry learned how difficult his mission was truly going to be. The film allowed for the travel to Jerusalem but it also tried to bring an arc to a conclusion with the possibility of a defense or sense of survival to be developed in a radical decision of life and death.
The film’s presentation felt a little uneven and the fast-moving zombies are a little less desirable (and, as mentioned before, overly CGI’ed). The chaos at the start was extremely entertaining. It gave the feel that no one knew what was going on and it was all about trusting oneself to make the right decisions and survive. Once on the ship and the trip to the “patient zero” site both wound up being a little lacking in character connections and less exciting than other scenes. Once in Jerusalem, it was not clear why the city had not suffered an attack sooner with the pattern of saving people who make too much noise, but it was essentially chaos part two. Minus the jaw-snapping zombie in the final act, the tense environment redeemed some of the earlier presentation mistakes, but the newly introduced characters has no sense of connection.
The imbalance between the presentation, concept, acting and connectedness to the books helps and hinders this film’s success. There is potential for a sequel but something would need to be done to better develop character connections with the audience.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5