The Last Survivors DVD ReviewThe Last Survivors DVD Review

The Last Survivors DVD Review

Synopsis: At the edge of an expansive barren valley, all that remains of The Wallace Farm for Wayward Youth is a few hollowed-out husks of buildings. Seventeen-year-old Kendal can barely recall when the Oregon valley was still lush. It’s been a decade since the last rainfall, and society at large has dried up and blown away. When a greedy water baron lays claim to what little of the precious resource remains underground, Kendal must decide whether to run and hide or bravely fight for the few cherished people and things she has left.

From the producers of You’re Next and The Guest comes director Thomas S. Hammock‘s THE LAST SURVIVORS is an action thriller with strong horror elements. The film immediately sets up the feeling and unnerving mood of Hammock’s post-apocalyptic world as young scavenger Kendal fathers what she can on her morning ritual as she carefully scopes out the desert wasteland near her desert home with dreams to fix a crashed plane so her and those around her can escape their miserable existence.

Leading the cast is Haley Lu Richardson plays Kendal, a young scavenger and protector of the last source of water in the barren wasteland. As the films protagonist, her performance is excellent and she holds great presence on screen conveying such strong emotion that her performance is wholly believable. Interestingly enough, this role also proves that Richardson can pull off an action roles as her character has no problems wielding her trusty shotgun and kitana. Granted this may not be as impressive as Chloe Grace Moretz was in Kick Ass but it does become incredibly close.

Jon Gries (Taken) plays the role of Carson the films villain. He’s mean, nasty and clearly incredibly dangerous without thinking twice about ordering the immediate death of anyone who crosses him. As for the rest of the cast the performances aren’t up to the same standard. Booboo Stewart (X-Men: Days of Future Past) who plays Dean an associate of Kendal’s who keeps a sense of mystery about him. Also starring is Michael Welch as Gabriel. Known to most for his roles in the Twilight saga and Joan or Arcadia, Welch brings with him a wealth of acting experience. Both actors offer a nice compliment to Richard’s fantastic performance but no one matches Richardson’s screen presence.

The pacing of the film is somewhat slow in approach to unveiling the plot’s twists and turns but does so to it’s own advantage. Teasing his audience Hammock has crafted a thriller that offers his audiences something to chew on as the story unfolds even including blink-and-miss-it appearances from Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard and genre legend Barbara Crampton. Dealing with many difficult themes including isolation and grief the film also provides plenty of unnerving sequences that will no doubt creep more than a few viewers out along the way especially the masked henchmen who take great pleasure from jumping out at the most unexpected moments.

Despite echoing the aesthetics of a spaghetti western which in all honesty is not my favourite genre, I was thoroughly surprised with this film. It may be slow and the pallet bleached out but it doesn’t stop the film from looking great on screen thanks to Seamus Tierney‘s cinematography. However, the film would be nothing without the direction by Thomas S. Hammock. He clearly has an eye for detail which comes as no surprise considering the fact that he was the production designer on some of my favourite films including The Guest and You’re Next.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Survivors. It’s dark, it’s intriguing and held my attention from start to finish. I thought Haley Lu Richardson’s performance was fantastic and Hammock’s direction was equally as solid. It’s just a shame that films as good as this are being missed by mainstream audiences so I hope that upon reading his review you will be curious to check out the film for yourself.

Extras include: Behind the Scenes Featurette, Deleted Scenes: Kendal Trapped/Kendal on the Run, Hayley Lu Richardson’s Audition.

THE LAST SURVIVORS is available on DVD now.