Concept and Story: 8.5/10
Scripting and Execution: 7.5/10
Overall Rating: 8.0/10
***Mild SPOILERS lie ahead***
So, here’s a movie that’s currently on Amazon Prime as of this writing (that would be 7 March, 2019) called After the Dark. I definitely recommend it based on it’s premise. But the wrap up leaves a little to be desired, if I’m honest. Caution for the spoilers.
First of all, the synopsis is HIGHLY misleading if you read it, so don’t make you decision to watch it based on that:
“Faced with an impending nuclear apocalypse, a group of twenty college students must determine which ten of them would take shelter underground and reboot the human race. The decision quickly becomes deadly as each in the group turns against each other in a desperate fight for survival.”
It sounds like the kids are about to struggle with surviving the end of the world! That’s not even close to the truth. Well, sort of close. The plot of the movie revolves around a high school philosophy class of 20 students and their teacher who embark on a final thought experiment on the last day of school. The scenario? The world is on the brink of extinction via nuclear apocalypse. The goal is to survive extinction and save the human race. There is a bunker that is designed to support life for 10 people for 1 year. So they have to decide who goes in, and who burns in the fallout. Each student is given the opportunity to draw a card from a box that will tell them who they are, or at least what their skill set is. Then the group votes.
This, to me, is a very interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre of films. Rather than actually facing the disaster, these student form a think tank where they contemplate the weight of their decisions. They go through 3 iterations of the experiment. In the first, they are just given jobs, roles. In the second iteration, they are given some sort of trait. For some, it is a benefit that may out weight the uselessness of their given trade or skill. For others, it's the exact opposite. So this changes the game quite a bit for some of the participants. Especially when procreation becomes a primary concern in the second round.
The third round is where things started to fall apart for me. One of the students was given the role of soldier and the trait of having a perfect eidetic memory, which is great. Until she is able to recall information from the previous iteration to help them in the final round. Seems a little cheesy and a bit of a deus ex machina, if you ask me. But no one did, so the movie was made with this big gaping flaw. The ending does a bit of an (not completely) unexpected (and not wholly necessary) twist. I won’t ruin that part for you if you intend to watch it. You judge for yourself how that plays out.
All in all, I’d give the movie a B-. Definitely an innovative take on a popular genre. Could use some work on the execution and filling out the plot. I’m not sure I would spend the money to purchase the movie, but it’s good for a rental (or online streaming). Go give it a look.