Zombie movies are all the rage now, giving us options when deciding which undead flick to purchase. Extinction is one such movie vying for your hard earned money.
Nine years after an infection turns most of the humanity into rabid creatures, Patrick (Matthew Fox), Jack (Jeffrey Donavon) and Lu (Quinn McColgen), a nine-year-old girl, survive in seeming peace and calm in the forgotten snow-covered town of Harmony. We nonetheless sense that something terrible happened between Patrick and Jack because a deep hate keeps them apart. When the infected appear again, Patrick and Jack will have to leave behind all rancor to protect the one being who means more to them than anything else. ~ Vaca Films
The opening scene is great, incorporating both important character interactions and some intense zombie action. However, the pace abruptly halts as we are shot 9 years into the future, where zombies are almost not seen anymore. Toward the end the action picks up again, but there is a long period in the middle that relies completely on character interactions and piecing together the mystery of what happened in the nine year stretch.
Extinction tries to focus more on the living than the dead. We’ve seen this done well with a few other titles, like The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later. Extinction reaches high, occasionally touching the apple with outstretched fingers, then loses its balance and totters on its ladder. The theme for this film is about zombies that “evolve”, though the twist ending is lackluster and the evolution of the zombies is a bit mystifying.
I’m OK with slow-burn films, but it’s vital that they have a strong story and great acting. Neither of those were the case here. Matthew Fox was pretty convincing, but I’m struggling to decide whether it was the dialog or the acting from Donavon and McColgen that made the middle scenes tough to get through. When we are thrown into the future, both Patrick and Jack have become very different characters, and during the time we get to know them there is little character development to speak of. Not until the final scenes of the movie are we given an idea of what changed them so much. There comes a point where you are pining for some action to happen, because those few action scenes are both exciting and suspenseful – much better done than most of the dramatic sequences.
I understand that director Miguel Ángel Vivas was working with a small budget, but it seems like he made a few poor decisions on how to spend it on the CG. There are a couple cinematic shots where characters are looking at a fake sunrise or out into a valley, and it looks almost cartoonish because the CG is so glaringly unrealistic. The evolved zombies are decently scary, though there are numerous occasions where you can see makeup lines and loin clothes.
I struggle with the concept of zombies that can evolve. Wouldn’t that mean that they were technically alive? Traditionally, zombies are reanimated human corpses that continue to decompose until they completely disintegrate. If they are evolving, they are supposedly becoming better suited to thrive… I suppose the idea is that we are to suspend disbelief, but with the majority of the film being a clunky, quiet character film, we are given plenty of time to contemplate that strange notion, but I digress…
So here’s the thing: Extinction isn’t terrible, but it’s not great. That being said, it has its moments that give you hope and keep you watching, but in the end you feel a little shortchanged. It doesn’t sit on my list of must-see zombie flicks. I would however, recommend watching Extinction on Netflix or Redbox for something a little different than your usual spooky-movie nights.
Extinction releases Sept. 1, 2015 to DVD. Runtime 110mins, Rated R.