James and Lily live off the grid, raising their young daughter in a cocoon of comfort and sustainability. When a mysterious mass text ripples its way across the country, triggering a crippling, apocalyptic cyber attack, their home transitions from sheltered modern oasis to a fortress for the estranged old friends that show up at their door for protection and community. The unexpected reunion--abundant with revelry and remembrances, generously enhanced by organic wine and weed--is quickly undermined by the slights of the past, the spark of lingering flirtations and the threat of a locally grown new world order.
Directed by: Denis Henry Hennelly
. Starring: Adrian Grenier
, Kid Cudi
, Mckenna Grace
, Kerry Bishé
, Caroline Dhavernas
, Ben McKenzie
, Mark Webber
, Remy Nozik
, Gaby Hoffmann
, Julie Dretzin
, Rick Chambers
, Marcella Lentz-Pope
, Kirk Baltz
. Music by: Eric D. Johnson
I'd like to start off by saying I really had higher hopes for this movie and the story it was trying to explore. There are tons of post-apocalyptic movies, but usually they are about people in dire straights, doing whatever it takes to survive in a world with dwindling resources. The promise of this story, at least the promise I gleaned from the description on Netflix, is that it would explore how people with a "sustainable agriculture" type of lifestyle weather the Apocalypse. What I found was a story that is tainted with unrealistically optimistic expectations of a post rule-of-law world.
The writers' idea of what would happen in this scenario is incredibly naïve and foolishly optimistic. In times of desperation, civil discourse goes out the window, and the worst of humanity is revealed. People are not willing to share or compromise in these situations. Even if cooperation has the promise of greater reward, in times of panic people will almost always choose the "Right here, Right now" option. Clearly the writers either do not understand this or they must not be paying attention to what's happening in less fortunate areas of the world. The most unrealistic thing about this movie is its character's expectation of securitysafety.
One of the first things most people would do in the event of the breakdown of society would be to locate and secure at least one weapon (preferably firearms). The more the better. After all, sooner or later supplies are going to run out and the neighbors are going to start strongly insisting on the concept of sharing. Unfortunately for the main characters, the general consensus seems to be that guns are "scary" and they prefer not to have them around at all. In fact The only gun they have is a revolver brought by one of the group members against the others' wishes, and is therefore kept unloaded. While in some circles this may be a noble attitude of anti-violence, it has no place in a post rule-of-law world. Their moral high horse is quickly knocked out from under them when armed thugs raid their stockpile at gunpoint, and molest one of the group members. While I applaud them for at least getting the fact that they got robbed right, I have to say that it happens much too late in the story to be believable. In reality, they would not have simply been robbed and groped, and after being asked nicely to boot. The locals would have been there much sooner, with guns, and without asking. Being robbed and groped would be extremely preferable to what would really happen. Their aversion to weapons seems like wishful thinking and not representative of most of America. Let's just say if that scene had taken place in my neck of the woods, those two thugs wouldn't have simply walked away after the trespass they had just made, apocalypse or not.
With the whole defense issue being ignored on moral grounds, you would think they would have plenty of other survival based issues to dwell upon. Such as, What do we do when we run out of food? What happens when are solar powerwater pump system breaks down? Since we have decided to forego weapons how are we going to keep peaceful relations with our armed and dangerous neighbors? Instead, the problems and arguments the group choose to dwell upon are for some reason, still those of a developed first world nation. They worry far too much about how happy they are in their relationships and how much they hate each other for shallow insignificant character flaws. they do this even after they are robbed of their resources at gunpoint. In what world is the most salient problem how happy you are with your partner when you have no real sustainable source of food? Oh yeah I forgot about their garden, which looked capable of feeding one person out of ten for a few days. This again just shows how ungrounded and shallow the writers are. I guess they have never heard of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. How can one worry about existential fulfillment when they don't have foodwatersheltersecurity? They can't, and it makes much of the dialogue in this movie absurd.
Because of these points, I felt the dialogue and events of the movie were just flat out unbelievable. Without a believable infrastructure it comes off as an idealistic college kid's expectation of the consequences of the collapse of society.
In spite of the fact that the dialogue wasn't believable for the setting, it remained intelligent and informed. They talked about the kinds of things you would expect to hear from your pseudo-intellectual friends at a party. Imagine the "politically aware drunk college guygirl" at a party, age them 10 years, then imagine they've mostly got their life together, this person is ever main character in the movie.
Conclusion: While the events of the movie itself are absurdly unbelievable, if you suspend disbelief, the movie has just enough suspense and character development to keep you entertained. Just don't expect a realistic portrayal of the break-down of society. the events are more in line with what would happen in a town that lost power for 2 weeks.
Review by jhk655 from the Internet Movie Database.