Monday, July 11, 2016

5 Years After the Fall

Score Technician: TJ Geise

5 Years After the Fall is set (you guessed it) five years deep in a post-apocalyptic future where affluent society exists only behind the highly fortified walls of secure cities while the plebs starve in the wasteland that was once Western Civilization.

The film centers around Jacob, an upper crust activist whose life gets flip-turned upside down after he is forced to fend for himself outside the walls, and Grace, a survivor taken captive by a wasteland kingpin. Together they fight to survive an onslaught of cannibals looking for long pork and teenagers forced to do the kingpin’s bidding. Contrary to the descriptions, it’s not a comedy.
  • The grammar gremlin piloting each nanobot is having a sulk over the film’s title not spelling out the word “five at the start of the title.” = -5pts 
  • The opening soundtrack and the washed-out colors make the opening feel like a late ‘90s trance video. = +2pts 
  • Hillbillies and cholos working together in harmony to chase down and disembowel a terrified man. = +5pts 
  • Holding up the line by loudly talking to the holograph of your girlfriend. = -4pts 
  • This future’s still hasn’t found a way to synthesize a human voice that sounds more elegant than Vicki the Robot from Small Wonder. = -6pts 
  • Who cares about the rights of the hungry and dispossessed masses when your girlfriend is cheating on you!? = -6pts 
  • Explaining the nuances of your activist group to a patronizing cynic. = -5pts (for having to listen to it) 
  • Derailing a heated political conversation with a literal derailment. = +3pts 
  • Putting political beliefs aside to save your verbal opponent’s life by sacrificing your own. = +7pts 
  • Forcibly fellating a buck knife. = -10pts 
  • Moving on from your old girlfriend to the new girlfriend you found under a table. = +4pts 
  • Being saved by your new girlfriend after she stabs your attacker in the neck with a screwdriver. = +8pts 
  • Of all the houses to run and hide in, it’s one with guns, C4, and blow. = +3pts 
  • Not understanding until it’s too late that calling for help into the CB radio owned by the wasteland warlord whose home you broke into will only bring the opposite of help. = -7pts 
  • The self-revulsion that accompanies the thrill of murdering a teenage girl for the first time. = -3pts 
  • Being excited about candies, turkey, and pies. = +4pts 
  • Hand-feeding candy to your captive in exchange for exposition. = +3pts 
  • Giving cannibals the cute nickname of “skinnies.” = -2pts 
  • Chasing away cannibals by headshotting their children with an assault rifle. = +12pts 
  • Silently judging your rich kid boyfriend’s, “Where was I during the apocalypse?” story. = +3pts
  • Punching the sohrries out of a Canadian. = +5pts 
  • At what points does murdering teenagers become less about survival and more about funsies? = +3pts 
  • Reflecting on your life choices as you stare into the lifeless eyes of the teenager your boyfriend killed to “survive.” = -6pts 
  • Fulfilling every adult Call of Duty player’s dream of bashing a teenager’s head in with a baseball bat after he ambushed you with a flashbang. = +10pts 
  • Following the sound of dripping blood to a secret garage. = +4pts 
  • Giving your new girlfriend the secret code to her freedom to live in a fortified mansion-land and then being shocked when she garottes you with a belt. = +13pts 
  • Watching your friend try to use her feminine wiles in exchange for a can of beans but instead getting her throat slashed and thinking, “That seems like a pretty good idea. I should do that too.” = -10pts 
  • Watching your friends try to use their feminine wiles in exchange for a can of beans but instead getting their throats slashed and thinking, “I’m gonna kill the motherfuckers who did this.” = +15pts
  • Taking out home intruders with all of Kevin McCallister’s guile but none of his slapstick. = +10pts 
  • Sawing off the head of your sworn enemy and using it as leverage to start a revolution. = +15pts 
  • Being able to tell your friends, without context, that your role in a film was as “Meat Camp Skinny #3.” = +3pts 
  • Putting zombies on the cover of a cannibal apocalypse film (which features zero zombies) to deceive Prime/Netflix/Crackle patrons to increase streaming hits. = -25pts 
Total Score: +46pts
Available on: Amazon Prime and in Joe’s mailbox.

5 Years After the Fall has some sharp, brutal writing hidden beneath the low budget effects and cringeworthy violence. The protagonist switch followed by the flashbacks of Grace’s rise to badassery broke this movie out the “Guy saves girl” trope it had found itself splashing around in.

Despite the heavy “Eat the rich” political overtones, the film is rarely boring and is paced well. Its low budget and inexperienced crew are painfully obvious at times, and there are a few moments that make suspending the disbelief hard (seriously, both of Grace’s friends are killed trying to exchange a handski for a hot meal).

Shortcomings aside, the movie isn’t as run-of-the-mill as the film’s title and synopsis would have you believe. Just don’t expect zombies – not all that eats the flesh of the living is undead.

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