Image Entertainment – 2014
Directed by Peter Engert
Written by Christian McDonald
What I really appreciated about this nuclear apocalypse movie was that it didn’t feature zombies. Sure, I enjoy watching the undead shuffle about and make meals out of humans like the next guy, but let’s be honest…zombies are played out.
Instead, this story focuses on the plights of a group of nine desperate strangers who take refuge in a farmhouse cellar. While radioactive fallout darkens the world above, these folks fight against limited supplies, poisonous air, each other and finally other humans who will kill for their food and shelter.
I give high marks to Director Peter Engert for his storytelling ability and nuances with not just the actors but the camera. Speaking of camera, Aftermath looks sensational as Cinematographer Scott Winig (Laid to Rest) paints the screen with light, shadow and color. The images he captures for Engert are rich with detail and texture.
Edward (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) Furlong gets top-billing, but maybe because of the annoying character he plays “Brad”, he doesn’t stand out as much as C.J. Thomason as “Hunter.” Thomason is not only truthfully the movie’s lead, but his character is smart, heroic and worth taking this nihilistic journey with. The actor gives the character many layers and he has onscreen chemistry with heroine “Elizabeth” portrayed by Monica (Freddy vs. Jason) Keena. Keena plays the role with grounded approach, coming across believable and likable.
I think the film’s shooting locations add to the story’s credibility. The exterior locations are best photographed during the movie’s opening credits. These shots look like they were painstakingly designed with special attention given to coating the photographic surface with the best these places had to offer. There is obvious use of filters and I’m sure color correction, but what movie doesn’t utilize these tools of the trade.
I read that this production run into big-time trouble when the first director was replaced right before shooting started. With that fact in mind, the end product is even more impressive.
Like any potent apocalyptic movie, there’s not a lot of optimism where the storyline goes for these characters. But for this journalist, that just fine when the results turn out this darn good.