It’s time to look at a fairly old film about vampires, but you could also just call them zombies. It’s a solid slow burner about a guy just trying to survive on his own. It’s surprisingly good and way better than most films in its genre. That being said it does squeeze a dog in for literally no reason which did take away a quick point. Why the film did this is beyond me.
The film starts off by introducing us to Robert. He believes he is the last man on Earth after watching everyone else go down to the plague. This illness was spread through the air and started by infecting all of Europe but eventually spread across the world. The vampires can’t move during the day time at least but at night they go wild. The only way to put them down for good is with a stake or burning them to oblivion. Robert has lived for 3 years by taking them down one at a time during the day and boarding himself in at night. Still, the days are taking their toll on him mentally and he knows that he can’t go on forever. Can he find a cure or finish them off before he loses the will to keep on going?
This is a pretty solid slow burner film. The opening scenes of Robert just walking around and living life are pretty fun. I think I can see why people would like an apocalyptic slice of life film. There’s a nice sense of peace as he just goes about his daily life. I actually would have been fine not even seeing the flashbacks. It’s also nice to just throw us in the middle of this because it gives you a lot to think about as he walked around. I’m sure it must have been a whole lot of work to find out all the rules of how to fight these vampires. He did good to live for 3 years although from how we see him live you’ll be surprised that he lasted so long. He uses quite a lot of garlic for the refills and doesn’t grow his own so the store he gets it from must have had an absolutely massive supply. I wonder if it would have been safer to just live in that factory for the time being.
That being said, the garlic really did not seem all that effective to me. Towards the end the vampires just walk right past it so its effect was either weaker than anticipated or the zombies just had a lot of determination in that scene. They are also very fast since Robert said that he had been trying to find them for 3 years, but never did. Based on how quickly they show up when nightfall is upon him that would suggest that they always make sure to sleep very close by. When searching a whole city for a bunch of zombies it makes sense that this wouldn’t be an easy ordeal but there does seem to be something he is missing. Nonetheless, his strategy of knocking them off during the day each time is pretty smart. It may not be much, but he’ll eventually take them all down.
This is one of those movies where the vampires are incredibly slow to the point where he was able to knock out like 10 on his own. There really isn’t anything to fear except for them potentially getting a lucky shot in. I think his best plan would be to find a gun somewhere so he can just mow them down. That would even allow him to survive pretty well at night since he could easily shoot them before they get close. A sword would also be a good idea. A more pro-active approach like that would definitely do wonders for him. Slow zombies/vampires (I use the terms interchangeably) may be convenient but it does let you have fun imagining scenarios on how you would win. It does leave you a lot of openings for coming through in the clutch when necessary.
Unfortunately there is one scene that the film had to squeeze in for no real reason. A dog shows up. Yes, I sighed when this happened too. There is no purpose for the dog to show up here and even in context it doesn’t make sense that it would have lasted this long. I guess the dog also got immune like Robert somehow, but you know that it’s only showing up to die right from the start. The movie isn’t even being all that subtle about this to be honest. It’s not handled nearly as bad as it could have been in other situations, but it was still enough for me to dock a pair of stars.
This movie does throw in a big twist near the end when Robert finds out that he is not the last person left. Personally I think it would have made sense for a ton of other people to have survived if this was really a virus. Could Robert have been the only one who was bitten by a mosquito and granted immunity? It wasn’t the same situation per say for these guys though. This leads to a bit of a grim end for Robert even if he does take it in a different way than some other characters might. It’s hard to blame Robert for what happened here though since he just never realized that not all of the zombies were the same. As I mentioned his plan was pretty logical.
Robert is a fun character. He certainly was loyal to his science principals and didn’t even want to entertain the idea of the supernatural until it hit him right in the face. He’s the kind of guy who will stay up late cooking up new cures while everyone else has given up. His friend Ben was not nearly as dedicated to his work. While Ben may have had a point, he didn’t do a good job of getting it across. Ultimately all he did was get in the way and slow down the process. At least he became very determined once he was a zombie. The fact that some of the zombies kept parts of their old personalities is also interesting.
Then you have Ruth who isn’t a terribly good character. She wasn’t great at spying on Robert and in general she wasn’t very helpful. I know that wasn’t part of her job, but while she was there she could have at least worked on getting a cure right? Then we have Virginia who is probably the worst character in the film. Even after Robert warns her multiple times not to call the cops because they would burn their daughter, she cracks and does so anyway. It’s easily one of the worst tropes when the character insists on doing the wrong thing and immediately starts crying afterwards acting shocked at how it all went wrong. It’s just way too late by then and that made things tougher on Robert. At the end of the day the only person he could count on was himself.
Overall, the writing is definitely on point here and Robert’s sarcasm and personality really help to carry the film. I enjoy his inner monologue and the movie’s pacing is consistent from start to finish. While I don’t think we needed the flashbacks it is always interesting to see how the town handles it when the zombie infestation first spreads. Resident Evil did something similar with the second last film as we saw a local town’s reaction. Robert may not have ended the zombie infestation, but he came close. It’s hard to say if he could have ultimately survived for the remainder of his days. I feel like he would have a good shot with some weapons and maybe finding a place with 24 hour electricity once he is retired. He would definitely need to thin out the zombie ranks as best he could before then though.