THE END IS HERE
This movie has been placed in the horror genre but it’s really a cross genre masterpiece. Though the premise is catastrophic sci-fi and much of how the people of Perth Australia respond to the news that asteroids have struck the earth in the north Atlantic is horrifying or tragic, this movie is also romantic in that the essence of humanity put on display for the viewer and man’s potential to rise above his own weaknesses and limitations during crisis to act with courage and love is remarkably profound to say the least.
The movie begins with two huge pieces of an asteroid crossing the sky to impact the earth. From the beginning we know where this story will end. A wall of fiery hell and concussive force is spreading across the globe. Soon we hear the reports roll in. Western Europe is gone…America, Canada, Mexico, Central America…all gone, scorched and consumed. The residents of Perth Australia know they have 12 hours till it arrives. That’s it. There’s no “maybe we can stop this”. No heroes to step up and save the world from apparent extinction. Were dead already, just on a timer ticking down, every second a little closer to that final incinerating breath. This movie is all about what we do with that time. How do people respond to the incomprehensible? To the unrelenting despair that just punched through your gut and ripped hope out through the black hole it opened up inside, a sucking abyss now pulling you in? What would people do? It gives us a variety of possible answers to this. The religious gather and worship together. The hopeless commit suicide. Lovers love each other and embrace. The sociopaths and psychopaths take advantage of grabbing whatever thrills they can before death overcomes them, unconcerned with man’s law and consequences any longer. Others gather for rave-like parties full of drugs, alcohol and orgies…and such a one is our main character, James.
James is not a good guy. He’s really just a junkie punk who cares about no one more than himself and is too scared of the coming pain to do what is right. The news reaches him while he’s with his girl, Zoe. She is beautiful inside and out and wants him to stay with her. They are just off the beach and will have “a great view” when it hits. But James immediately starts snorting coke lines and drinking and finds out that his buddy Freddy is throwing a huge party and James’ other girlfriend, Vicky (who is hot externally, but selfish and ugly inside), will be there. He tells Zoe he can’t stay, “It’s gonna hurt” and that he just wants to get high and blasted and not feel a thing. James soon finds out that Zoe is pregnant and still he leaves her. And all you can think is this guy is a piece of work carved from petrified dinosaur dung or something, seemingly incapable of change. But on his way to the party, after a run in with a lunatic with a machete that causes him to have to abandon his vehicle, James sees something heinous and a flicker of humanity begins to show through.
James witnesses a young girl, around 11 or 12 years old, being carried into a house by two grown men, kicking and screaming for her daddy. James enters the house and after a dangerous struggle manages to rescue the girl. She wants to find her father and James reluctantly agrees after much internal deliberation and staring at the gas gauge wondering if he has enough to do that and get to the party. The roller coaster ride of character development for James begins here. Progressively we see him become more attached to the girl, whose name is Rose, and more committed to doing what is right for her rather than simply serving his own selfish desires and fears.
During their journey we are exposed to the depths of man’s depravity and despair; his lusts, weaknesses, fears, and what each can inspire people to do. We are also exposed to the power of redemption to reconcile estranged mothers and sons, to give a man courage to abandon his good for the expense of an innocent stranger, and to realize that love is stronger than death and temporary pain.
The last 20 minutes of this film will jerk hard at your heartstrings. I am rarely moved to the point of having tears in my eyes but this movie did it. The visuals are powerful, the musical score will capture your heart and wash it away with a torrent of emotions. The acting is at times visceral, ugly, beautiful, audacious, subtle, disturbing, heart breaking and more. And the radio man periodically overheard has such an absolutely perfect voice to express the solemn nature of what is happening, to weigh you down with the gravity of his words, their pacing and his tone. It is a beautiful thing and auditory perfection. All of this comes together to create an extraordinarily powerful ride that penetrates and fills us with clarity of value for what is really important in life. It dissolves the negative filters through which we see our loved ones at times of frustration and argument and makes you only think about reconciliation and loving them because if you knew that you only had 12 hours left to be with them, none of their faults would matter at all. All that would matter is that you would be there for each other because of your love and commitment. And as the fires consume all and the credits role you are covered with thick quilts soaked wet and heavy with contemplative thoughts about your own life that weigh you down long after the movie has ended, challenging you to let go of the unimportant things, including petty resentments and arguments, and cling to what has true meaning and value.
Needless to say, but I can’t recommend this movie enough. Watch it alone, I think, where you won’t feel any pressure to hide your feelings or suppress your emotions. It’s an amazing film but also therapeutic and cathartic.
Purchase a copy of the film here
Review by Mike Duke
Ginger Nuts of Horror, the Heart and Soul of Horror Film Reviews