August 5, 2015

VOD Review: The Last Survivors (2015)
After Mad Max came out way back in 1979, or more accurately, after the Road Warrior hit screens in 1981, there was a run on Post-Apocalyptic movies that filled our childhoods with cheesy goodness. Many of them weren't great movies at all, and in all honesty, most of them were flat out bad, but there was just something about a small group of humans fighting to survive in a barren, destroyed world that was filled with madmen, monsters, or worse, that fed our imaginations to no end.

In recent years, that trend has returned in a way, in the form of the Teen Dystopia movie; you know, The Hunger Games, Insurgent, The Maze Runner, The Giver, and other movies of their ilk.

While the movies in the former group were all about testosterone-fueled violence and death, the movies of the latter group are more about teenagers (mostly girls) rising up to become heroes in a world gone mad, all while trying to navigate the equally treacherous waters of young romance. Yeah.

I'm simplifying thongs a bit here, but in essence, that's basically how it is with the "Life After Armageddon"  movies of today; it's all feelings and self-worth. At least Mad Max: Fury Road came along this Summer and put the balls back into the Post-Apocalyptic Genre.

Which brings us to The Last Survivors (formerly titled The Well); a movie that falls into the Dystopia mold, but operates on the same engine that powered the Post-Apocalyptic action flicks of old. Except that it really plays like a solid Indie Drama more than anything else. An Indie Drama that's filled with blood, death, and cold-blooded revenge.

It's been 10 years since the rain has stopped falling, and as you can imagine, that has left the world little more than a dry, parched, waterless wasteland. In the barren expanse of a dead valley in Oregon, two orphans hide out in what's left of The Wallace Farm for Wayward Youth. The girl, Kendal, spends her days pumping water through their tiny little well, sharing it with neighbors, and trying to keep everyone alive. The boy, Dean, spends his days dying. Life is rough.

The self-appointed local water baron, Carson, has been hunting survivors and killing them, laying claim to their land and their water, because he's an asshole. Kendal also has to spend a lot of her time hiding from Carson and his men, or be killed... because Carson's hot daughter doesn't like competition when it comes to the "Who's the hottest chick in the valley?" contest. True story.

As the their well finally begins to run dry, Kendal must not only fight to keep herself, Dean, and their remaining neighbors alive, but she must also figure out where in the hell she's going to get water from now. Needless to say, someone is going to have to die, and that someone is going to be a lot of someones. Dry-mouthed revenge ensues.

The Last Survivors could almost be called an Indie Drama more so than it could an Action Thriller, or even a Horror flick. Especially a Horror flick. Don't get me wrong, there's no doubt that it takes place in a harsh and dangerous world, and that it packs more than its share of intense and even horrifying imagery and scenes, but at its heart, it's more than just a Post-Apocalyptic gorefest.

Haley Lu Richardson acted, and emoted, her ass off in this one, and she brought more than a few emotional, and even poignant, scenes to the film. Aside from the dying Dean, she was really the only sympathetic character in this one, but surprisingly, they were more than enough to give the movie some much-welcomed emotional weight. She also wasn't afraid to blow people's faces off with a shotgun, or gut them like pigs with a Katana either, which added a nice gritty balance to things.

As PA flicks go, The Last Survivors succeeds where most fail, because of that balance. Oh, we enjoy The Hunger Games for what it is, but that's more of a big, overly-dramatic spectacle than it is anything else. There's nothing wrong with that. The Last Survivors though plays it far more bleak and desolate, which makes the characters feel far more isolated, and their circumstances much more dire. It's a quiet little movie, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't still pack plenty of bite.

That's not to say that there aren't problems with the movie. For instance, with water in extremely short supply, I'm not sure how Kendal is able to keep her hair looking so shiny and vibrant, or her teeth so pearly white. Honestly, she spends most of the movie looking like a model who has a bit of dirt smudged on her face, not an undernourished, hard put-upon survivor. That didn't exactly ring true to us.

Watching a young girl kill a bunch of guys in different ways, especially when it invovled some magical Ninja-like movies & swordplay at times, was a bit hard to swallow too. I mean, we bought into it, but that tiny little girl, who gets nowhere near enough water and nutrition, is honestly able to fight off a group of well-armed, strong men? And with such ease? That idea stretched the fabric of belief a bit for us, at least at times.

We also don't find out much of what's going on in the world outside of the valley, which kind of makes us wonder about the ending. A little more info would have been nice.

Before seeing The Last Survivors, we had no idea who Haley Lu Richardson was, other than she was a former Disney and ABC Family star who was apparently trying to play grown-up roles now. But where we expected to find little more than a pretty face trying to act tough, we actually found a good actress who owned her character, and came off as believable. She rocked this role far better than we could have imagined that she would, and it's not going to be long before she finds herself in more roles that are equally as challenging and worthwhile. We're impressed.

We also have to take a moment to talk about Nicole Arianna Fox, another hot actress whose humble beginnings inspired little faith in us, at least as far as sitting and watching her act goes. She may have gotten her start on one of the endless amount of mindless, brain-killing Reality TV shows that plagues the airwaves these days (America's Next Top Model, to be exact), but I'll be damned if she wasn't pretty good in this one. She may be as hot as sin, but she also managed to carry the role of evil bitch off rather well in this one, and she too may end up having herself a decent little career in front of the camera, going forward.

The rest of the cast were solid enough too -with the talented Jon Gries playing the heavy, and even Barbara Crampton and Foxface from The Hunger Games showing up to play small roles- but it was the girls that carried this one on their backs, and especially Haley Lu. How's that for Feminism, you Patriarchal bastards!

With the way most people act in a Post-Apocalyptic world, we'd be fine with not surviving the initial catastrophe. Then again, there always seem to be some really hot chicks left after the fall of humanity, so, maybe we'd want to live.You know, to help re-populate the world, and stuff.

Quiet, intense, and even emotional at times, The Last Survivors was exactly the kind of Post-Apocalyptic flick that yearn for. We really liked this movie, a lot, and although it might make you question some of its less believable aspects, we're pretty sure that you will too.

If you like the idea of a Post-Apocalyptic flick that has an Indie Drama sensibility, then you should definitely add this one to your Must See list.


The Last Survivors is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

The gorgeous Haley Lu Richardson and Nicole Arianna Fox are in this, and if the former has taught us anything, it's that every once in a while, something good can come out of something horrible like Reality TV. Something good and hot.


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah, well maybe we fucking love you. How about that? lol

      Thanks, man. That means a lot.

  2. An excellent film of its' type. Some have criticized the film as not giving us enough information about the characters or the world they now inhabit. I can only speak for myself by saying: they gave me enough so that I was more than willing to kick start my willing suspension of disbelief. As for her hair; as this is an entertainment and not a film taking place in Soviet or Nazi extermination camps, I want a pretty actress to look pretty, (particularly as the skin factor was 0). Her ability with weapons was easily explained; shoot first and you don't need to ask questions and will win those fights. Her ability with the sword I put down to the enthusiastic way in which she swung it. The one thing that I arched an eyebrow over was throwing the hatchet so it stuck in the guy's back. Little things impressed me like her collecting the empty shells so her brother could reload them. Someone spent some time thinking this world out. Finally, I love the way the almost budding romance ended and the same with the 'Princess of the Valley Contest.' Total agreement with your letter grade.