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Film Review

FINAL DAYS (2021) Review

Neil reviews Signature Entertainment’s FINAL DAYS praising its “unique perspective” on the zombie sub-genre.

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Final Days (Signature Entertainment)

Directed by stuntman Johnny Martin and written by Matt Naylor, Final Days stars Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), Summer Spiro (Westworld) and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games). Signature Entertainment presents Final Days on DVD (pre-order here) and Digital Platforms 12th April, 2021.

Synopsis

A world in chaos, a pandemic left unchecked and humanity on the brink of extinction… This is no time to be alone! As a deadly virus turns humanity into bloodthirsty plague carriers, it’s a fight for survival. Aiden awakes to discover the world he knew overnight has become an apocalyptic nightmare. Locked in his apartment alone, he soon begins to lose all sense of time and as food runs out he must face the world in order to survive…  Is there anyone out there and can they in turn be trusted?

Reivew

Signature Entertainment’s Final Days presents an interesting opportunity for fans curious about the idea of filmmaking. Matt Naylor’s script has already been adapted by Il Cho and released in South Korea and the successful #Alive (available in the UK via Netflix). Now, with Final Days, we have the opportunity to see how two different filmmakers interpret the same story.

Final Days represents an interesting, less widely exploited, facet of the zombie-horror genre. The insular story focusses mainly on one character – Aiden (Tyler Posey) – in the wake of a global pandemic. We follow his survival alone, psychologically examining the effect it has on him. Only meeting a small number of speaking characters who he has sparse interactions with.

Naylor’s script also present some genuinely unique viewpoints on the zombies themselves. To ramp up the emotional gut punch these zombies are somewhat self aware. They know what they’re doing and often scream at themselves to stop. They show a distinct level of remorse but due to the surging virus are unable to control their actions. In the right context, say if confronted by a loved one, this could be truly heartbreaking. Sadly Final Days doesn’t quite explore the plot device to that extent but still presents it admirably.

The story itself manages to captivate the audience with some great action. Whenever Aiden ventures outside his small apartment there’s plenty of chase scenes to behold. Director Johnny Martin also utilises some classic horror tropes like the figure in the peep hole to homage classic horror. There are inevitable classic tropes which also help give Final Days an air of authenticity. The moment the power goes off across the city being one of the more visually striking.

Final Days isn’t without its struggles however. Opting to bring us in to the apocalypse mere moments after a tense, emotional teaser may work in a tentpole franchise but misses the mark here. We spend so little time with Aiden prior to the events of the film that it is, at times, difficult to feel emotionally invested in his story. Aside from knowing he owns surfboards and a guitar, is partial to smoking weed and one night stands, he is a mystery. One which the film doesn’t choose to explore too deeply.

Posey’s performance injects enough emotion in to the character to make it work. There’s a charisma to his portrayal of Aiden which makes the character likeable despite his flaws. When he hits the ultimate rock bottom, as teased at the opening, there’s a rawness to his performance which is genuinely affecting. This moment pivots Final Days in to more of a romantic tale as it weaves in Summer Spiro as Eva. Despite spending little time in each other’s physical presence, the romance between Aiden and Eva feels authentic. As authentic as possible when you may be the only two humans left alive in a zombie apocalypse.

Donald Sutherland makes a brief appearance which acts simply to complicate the union between Aiden and Eva. Though his appearance adds a more desperate human element to the story, it feels unnecessary when there are already zombies blocking their path. Ultimately it pads the film out to 92 mins but I couldn’t help feeling there were more organic ways to do this with the already established scenario.

Verdict

Final Days is an enjoyable but ultimately uneven entry in to the zombie sub-genre. A unique perspective on its creatures and psychology is marred by a lack of much needed character development.


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