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The press release for EXTINCTION crossed my path a while back and I thought the film looked “okay”; but then I caught the name of the director and it rang a bell: Miguel Angel Vivas. That was the dude behind the Spanish vice grip that was the 2010 flick KIDNAPPED; a movie that owned me like nobody’s bitch’s son of a bitch! Being that this was his follow up to that said masterpiece, I had to check it out! So how did the man fare playing in the sandbox that is the good old US of A? Check it!
EXTINCTION (WATCH IT HERE) owed a lot to I Am Legend and 30 Days of Night that’s for sure! The former for its last men/women on earth (right down to the dog) Vs. monsters vibe and the latter for its snowy and oppressive setting. On the up side; EXTINCTION had a potent set-up, one that grabbed me firmly off the bat and it then went on to establish a desolate and grim world populated by only a few. And it was the potent drama that came with the “few” that kept me going. There was a nasty history between our two lead gents, one that added all kinds of tension to the proceedings and I as an audience member could cut said tension with a knife. It surely helped matters that our heroes were tackled by Matthew Fox (World War Z) and Jeffrey Donovan (Bait). They truly made it happen via their intense and affecting shows. Fox walked the tightrope that was insanity, guilt and goodness while Donovan was all about love, bitterness and over-protectiveness. And a huge kudos to young actress Quinn McColgan who was simply fantastic as the young girl Lu. I fell in love with her. Talk about a genuine performance!
As for the film itself; well the chain of events was engaging for the most part, if not a tad too slow moving for my liking in terms of its last two acts (we needed more humans Vs. Zombies confrontations big time here). The visuals went from sumptuous to jaw dropping arresting! I swear, now and again, it felt like I was watching paintings come to life instead of a film. The framing, the mood, the details in so many of the shots...wow... art on celluloid, or art on digital if you will. So yeah, that’s a huge compliment. The monster designs hit the spot too! Although they made little sense in terms of what they were (Evolved zombies? Wouldn’t that mean a putrified body?) they still looked cool and totally whooped me stupid when they surfaced onscreen. Tag to that a moody score (by Sergio Moure) that livened things up and a finale that FINALLY fully showcased the genius that is Vivas staging (now THAT was a visually dynamic set piece) and you get a film worth your while but that should have been so much more than what it was…
So the f*ck happened here? For starters Valeria Vereau’s role came off like it was shoe horned in there just to up the ante on the last act. It did not feel organic to the storyline. Other than that, look, this is me, a guy that knows nothing in terms of how this shoot went down, talking. But from the outside it looked like the film struggled with its budget in the sense that they wanted to do more but they couldn’t afford it hence they consolidated and this is what they pulled offt. How else can you explain the lack of physical action (up until the last act, not uch happened besides drama), the SHAKY CAM overload (the opening was all about that and it drove me nuts) and the uneven CGI (some shots looked unfinished)? Something was rotten in Denmark if you ask me... then again nobody asked me, I guess I should STFU.
In closing, I saw KIDNAPPED and obviously Vidal is a genius. Hints of his superior skills were randomly present here but I craved more than just "hints". Sure, EXTINCTION was all right and is worth at least one watch. But with Miguel Angel Vivas at the helm, I expected more than just all right. But that's just me, find out for yourself HERE!