It is always interesting to see where a new director will place their first foothold in the cinematic world, when debuting their feature, many often choose the horror genre, one with dedicated, and yet forgiving fans. Welcoming director Brent Nurse, serving also in the capacity of actor and producer, though likely in other regards too, with his less than $1 million production from Sector 5 films called 5 Years After the Fall. Now many find either slasher or found footage sub-genres as a safe bet, however Brent chooses the apocalyptic world, one which lately finds itself heavily overpopulated. Nevertheless, the film, while highlighting an abundance of low budgeting techniques, it still entertains, thanks to a committed crew and cast, and receiving distribution through Reality Entertainment, gives the movie a chance to find the audience via DVD and VOD market.
As one might summarize from the title the film takes place five years after the fall of the civilized world, though that perceived notion finds itself early on early as a stretch, but works to maintain it throughout the production. The plot focuses on ninety percent of the world’s population left to rot in ruin from contaminated food sources, of lawlessness and a rampant drug trade, while fighting through brutality and cannibalism just to survive. The other ten percent, the wealthy, and their armed guards, here the movie feels a tad like Land of the Dead (2005), but it goes deeper with hints of corruptions. The tainted food angle never finds itself in the forefront again, a missed opportunity, rather than hinting to the better food at a higher rate of cost and how the masses feed on lower qualities it just leaves it passing fancy. Therefore, the remainder of the population, which does look well-fed, feed literally on each other, and a growing resistance to the elements also downplayed again, why, unknown, as the firepower clearly shows who really has the upper hand. Jacob (Zorba Dravillas, who starred in 21 Brothers (2011)), free thinking liberal minded individual believes humankind needs to allow some of the starving innocent people entrance to the inside, for better access to food. However, after a terrorist train derailment Jacob stranded and forced to take up shelter in outpost of a drug czar’s post, and finds himself quickly losing his passive ways and becoming a vicious animal. He begins to redefine and defend himself with a woman he found in the same place name Grace (Nicole Garrett, in her first role). They both take prisoners, and rebuff attacks of Breckin’s (Clayton Garrett, also starred in 21 Brothers) army and other cannibal dwellers of the location. Zobra convincingly changes from the pacifist to a warrior with quirks, showing his need to survive, with regret especially regarding the killing of children. The nurse uses numerous displays violence against Jacob forcing the mild-mannered man into more explicit and deplorable acts of torture and murder to keep him alive, but for how long he remains alive – one needs to watch the flick.
First, this is not a zombie flick, regardless of what the artwork shows, the ghouls in this movie are people, the survivors turned cannibals, but not like the South American exploits, rather calculating animals, with intelligence, and craftiness. However, how does one show covered art of normal looking men and women cannibals, when the market relies on so heavily on zombies, how about people barbecuing a human leg. The pacing does drag in some places, struggling to maintain a suspenseful storyline, but fails whenever the CGI creeps into the scene. For example, the vicious acts of shooting children in the head, with sloppiness of puffs of red stuff literally it looks silly, practical versus CGI, horror fans know where the meter falls. The actors present their believability to their roles, and show some positive traction to engage the audience, a refreshing quality in these movies. While one could overlook these moments, the use of title cards to show time becomes tedious and annoying to an absurd standard, they are both forward and backwards in time, and ruin any dramatic traction the film establishes.
Overall, the movie suits both the topic and audience well enough, but just barely, overcoming the pitfalls of low budget productions, keeps Zorba’s performance quite honest, for a new adventure in the eventful apocalypse world. However, still one glaring oversight, the false representation of zombies on the cover, where in the movie the topic of them and showing them never occurs.