Dead Within (2014)

Plot Overview

Mike and Kim have been boarded up in a cabin, having survived a pandemic 6 months ago. Every day, Mike goes out looking for supplies, while Kim remains alone. Paranoia and cabin fever begin to settle in.

Review

The newest trend in ‘zombie’ films is quiet, soft ‘realism’ about the boredom of an apocalypse. Which is good, because it means we’re focusing on what’s really important in a zombie film – the people. The film begins with a brief scene of a group of (apparently) friends meeting for (apparently) a dinner party at a cabin. We then see our two disheveled leads, Mike and Kim, residing in the now-boarded up and apocalyptic-looking cabin. They are woken up by a light peering through the gaps in the boards and some people wanting to get inside. They are then attacked by something and that’s the end of them.

Later, Kim hears someone on the two-way radio, and Mike goes out to investigate and gather supplies. We are then subjected to various random flashbacks as Kim cleans up, which allow us to start piecing together the events prior to where we are now. Basically, we learn that there was some infection and the things out there want to kill them. After a night of romance, they spend the day trying to pass the time. Their (infected) dog whines and claws at the door from outside, which admittedly was a bit of a tug at the heart strings because anything to do with animals will set me off. Mike goes out again and Kim cleans up and has more flashbacks. Mike returns with the news that there’s not much food out there and he’s having to travel further and further.

Their days are generally spent passing the time and Mike gathering supplies, their nights spent keeping their romance alive. Further flashback reveals what happened to their friends in the cabin, and just what an infected person is like. One day, Kim hears a man on the radio who claims he’s part of a large community of survivors and is going to take her to them. Mike claims he has never seen another survivor. Kim gets increasingly paranoid and loopy as each day passes, and one day Mike doesn’t return from his daily scavenge.

Mike and Kim are both suitably plain, regular people. There’s nothing special about them and this is part of the problem. They lack the acting skills and charisma required to hold an entire film on their shoulders. They aren’t terrible, but not good enough. The script isn’t much either. There is some dialogue between the two, but it’s all fairly unmemorable and does little more than explain what they’re doing.

The music was really annoying and bad. I think it would’ve been potentially more tense without out, because it was seriously irritating. There sadly wasn’t really much tension throughout the film, which again made it drop in effectiveness.

Summary

I liked that it was an unromanticised version of the apocalypse and that it was focused on the people side of things, but I didn’t think it did anything particularly effectively. I’m not a big fan of flashbacks in general and I think it could’ve done without them. I feel like I’m always saying a stronger script and stronger actors would’ve helped, but it would’ve. I don’t think it’s really that bad a film, but it does drone on a bit and nothing about it is particularly noteworthy. Compared to films that have done the same thing better – such as The Battery and The Desert – it doesn’t do much to stand out.

Rating: 5/10

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