“What’s the one thing they fear in a world without water…?”
This is the central concept behind the film The Last Survivors, initially titled The Well. It is a post-apocalyptic thriller that gives us a glimpse into the future where only the most resourceful survive.
The film opens in a world with a dried up future. It has been ten years since the last rainfall and society has dwindled in a barren landscape.
The story follows Kendal, a teenage girl caring for her sick brother Dean. They can remember when the fields were covered in rice patties and they used to catch frogs, but now they live in a broken down farmhouse in their shriveled town in the Oregon Valley.
A hole in the wall is where they hide from the cold-blooded Carson and his gang of low lives. They are the adversaries who shook the township down for their land and water. All the townspeople are either murdered or taken to concentration camps. Kendal can only exist out of sight for so long.
The Last Survivors depends on the incredible talent of Hayley Lu Richardson (Kendal) who was only 17 when the film was made! She drives the pace of the film and conveys a sense of fear, yet is able to be confident when faced with capture.
Also worthy of mention are Booboo Stewart (Kendal’s sick brother) and Jon Gries (the greedy water Baron). Stewart (formally of The Twilight Saga and Disney films) gives a beautifully understated performance that complements Richardson perfectly. Gries is the ideal villain, wicked and uncompromising.
Tom Hammock’s directing ensures that the characters are well drawn and totally believable. He keeps the film moving at a pace that never lags.
The cinematography is this film is outstanding. The desert expanses and its colours are beautifully rendered by Seamus Tierney. It really adds to the film’s overall feeling of dryness and despair. My only criticism is the use of low light in the interior scenes. It detracts from the acting at times.
The Last Survivors reminds me of Mad Max at times with its desolation and violence, but is satisfying in a very different way.
Reviewed by Barry Hill
Rating out of 10: 9
The Last Survivors will be released on DVD and Digital on Demand on 17 February 2016.