Last Survivors is a well written, if uneven, post apocalyptic thriller. The story starts like it is going to be just another entry in the sub genre, before moving in a different direction. Jake (Drew Van Acker) lives with his father (Stephen Moyer) alone in their perfect little world in the woods. As expected, this peace does not last long. When Henrietta (Alicia Silverstone) enters their utopia, Jake cannot bring himself to kill the outsider as he was taught.
There was a time when Silverstone was the “It Girl” in Hollywood. Clueless seemed to be the beginning of what would be a long and iconic career. While Silverstone has gone on to build a successful resume, she never quite reached the heights that she seemed destined for. Last Survivors is a reminder of the talent and charisma Silverstone can effortlessly convey.
The script is where things become choppy. There is definitely a sense that Last Survivors is trying to explore areas not normally seen in these types of movies. It is interesting to see how Jake and Troy have handled the end of the world versus how Henrietta dealt with things, for example. There are many times when the movie veers off into unexpected directions, also.
The relationship between father and son is another neat idea. Jake has only known his father so it makes complete sense that he almost blindly believes everything Troy tells him. Last Survivors does not present this as a liability or give it a childlike innocence. Jake is simply suffering from a case of arrested development. How Jake sees Henrietta is a little odd, however.
The characters may benefit from strong writing, but the actual story can be pretty frustrating. It becomes clear early on that Last Survivors does not want the audience to just accept the world has been destroyed. The entire time, the film seems like it is reminding audiences there is a big secret that it is going to tell – but only when it wants to. It is the equivalent of someone holding their finger right in front of your face and saying, “I’m not touching you.”
Last Survivors seems like it is bringing people along to explore deeper themes, but it never is able to take them on. It is an engaging character study that eventually reaches a point where it becomes content. There is not necessarily anything wrong with this, but it is hard to shake the feeling the film did not live up to its full potential. In the end, the strong writing and some great performances make this an easy watch.
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