Starring Matthew Fox, Jeffrey Donovan, Quinn McColgan, Valeria Vereau. Directed by Miguel Angel Vivas. (2015, 113 min). SONY
Nine years after a zombie apocalypse and new ice age have wiped-out most of the human race, two men and a child are doing their best to survive in the small town of Harmony. Patrick (Matthew Fox) and Jack (Jeffrey Donovan) have-since become bitterly estranged, while Jack also struggles with fiercely protecting his daughter, Lu (Quinn McColgan), who begins to resent never being allowed to leave the house. Meanwhile, it turns out the zombie hordes did not die off over the years as once assumed. They've evolved to adapt to their frozen environment. Patrick and Jack are then forced to set-aside their animosity in order to defend themselves, and Lu, against this new wave of attacks.
Extinction is one of the more creatively ambitious entries in the continuing onslaught of low budget zombie epics. While no classic, the film is intelligently written, well acted and deliberately paced, with more emphasis on its trio of main characters than artery-spewing mayhem. Of course, that'll turn some genre fans off, and you should look elsewhere if all you want is a gory good time. In fact, there really isn't much action at all during the first half, which mostly focuses on the day-to-day monotony and personal conflicts of these characters in this post-apocalyptic world. Not only that, the film never bothers to explain the origins of the outbreak or subsequent arctic deluge, and only drops a few hints at what caused Patrick & Jack to hate each other in the first place.
But ultimately, such exposition isn't really central to the story. We learn just enough about these characters to accept them as they are, though there is a fairly heart-wrenching plot revelation late in the film which adds some emotional kick to the climax. From a technical standpoint, Extinction benefits from terrific production design and an overall look that borders on surreal. Sure, some of the creature attacks reek of low-rent CGI, but the scenes depicting the snowy landscape are suitably epic and bleak.
Its morose, dead-serious tone and emphasis on characters might initially remind some viewers of AMC's The Walking Dead. Extinction isn't as well-made or compulsively watchable, but still a cut above the usual low-rent gut-munchers that typically pop-up these days. For those who want their brains served-up with some brains, Extinction is worth checking out.
8 Making-of Featurettes (including behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, segments on the production design, special effects and creature make-up)