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quietearth [Celluloid 02.12.08] post apocalyptic movie review horror

Year: 2007
Release date: Feb. 22 (limited theatrical)
Director: David Bruckner & Dan Bush & Jacob Gentry
Writer: David Bruckner & Dan Bush & Jacob Gentry
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 8.99 out of 10

First off I have to say this is one of the best movies I saw in 2007, and it's one of the best movies I'll see in 2008. I've just watched it for the third time, having received it last year before Magnolia pushed the release date back, and it is simply breathtaking. Is it on the level of There Will Be Blood? No, it won't be Citizen Kane, but it's already an instant underground classic which will see its way long into the future, blurring the lines between cinema, horror, post apocalyptic, and immediate survival. Let me explain the immediacy: with recent films like Automaton Transfusion and Mulberry Street, I've been digging those apocalyptic scenarios where society collapses in the time it takes to snap your fingers, and Darwinian law rules. This is the basis for our storyline which is split into three segments, or "transmissions", each written and directed by a different person. David Bruckner, Dan Bush, and Jacob Gentry. While technically an anthology, it really doesn't play out as such.

If you've noticed alot of the press lately, it seems that much has been filled in about the fictional city of "Terminus" where the story takes place. This isn't explained in the film, and I'm guessing, was created after the fact for marketing, so I will be ignoring this. I can't tell you how the film starts, it's a treat, so lets skip ahead to Transmission I, which is part of our three tiered story. This section is called "Crazy In Love", and shows a wife cheating on her husband, then heading home right after the "signal" starts. What she finds is complete insanity, in the halls of her building, and in her apartment itself. There her husband devolves into a homocidial maniac, and she has to hide. The first part of this story is tender, even if two-timing in nature, and illicits a deep connection with two of our characters which remains throughout the entire film. This may seem a bit formulaic, but it's just part of a setup which at times, will seem like the surreal hallucinations in Apocalypse Now.

Transmission II, "The Jealousy Monster", is where the film vacates any notion of rationality and introduces the dark comedy. A high-brow, uptight wife has to kill her husband due to the signal phenom, but the manner in which she accomplishes this lends itself to the hallucionegnic aspects of said signal. In the words of one character, "anarchy has replaced etiquette", as a man whose on fire appears on the porch. Many people eventually descend into her apartment, to the utmost tragic and hilarious consequences. Don't miss the wicked witch head bashing scene!

With transmission III, "Escape from Terminus", we rejoin our main characters from the beginning who are haphazardly pursuing one another. Problem is, one of them has a deviation in Transmission II. Confined as our world is, we certainly don't lack for any idea of what's going on inside of it. For instance, one of the great things about #3 is the decapitated head and the car-battery jumpstart. It looks like the head is talking, but is it? This is also where we get a hint of what might be going on, "psychotron resonance". A signal causing disruption in synaptic networks, or more simply, our brain. Put the tin foil hats on kids!

Many conclusions might be drawn from this film, from opinions on consumerism to the destruction of spirituality, but in my own little interpretation, I like to think it has to do with that constant buzz, or "signal" many of us have which interferes severely with concentration. It interferes with that state of inner peace one achieves from meditiation, the connection with that which is greater then us. But this only seems to be a partial basis for the storyline. Does the movie suggest a return to simpler things? No, I think it's just a top notch film that turned out that way. You don't want to miss it.

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agentorange (14 years ago) Reply

Great review. Been waiting on this one for a long time. Can't wait to finally see it.


zombiblogia (14 years ago) Reply

It's a great movie, but the first two sections are much more interesting than the last one... wich is a bit disapointing, in my opinion. The best of all is the second one, when we can see from the eyes of a group of "infected" and understand their madness, their crazy...

Quietearth: great job, amazing site.


quietearth (14 years ago) Reply

Thanks zombiblogia!


Frodo (11 years ago) Reply

I was bowled over by this film! It reminded me of the atmosphere of 28 days later plus the 'what the fuck is happening?' weave of Jacob's Ladder. The good/evil polarity of mainstream paradigms is constantly challenged (as 'The Dark Knight' does) as the Signal affects different personalities in different ways, rewiring some individuals in such subtle ways that multiple views are recommended to stimulate your own synapses into working out where 'reality' stops and the Signal begins; where justified killing meets heartless rage.
I've never really gone for the whole zombie thing (too formulaic until 28 Days Later), and horror is a secondary interest, yet I heartily recommend this to my friends as it's all woven together responsibly and wittily, creating a unique viewing experience and a return to great storytelling over anything else. How many excellent films could be made for the cost of one mainstream banal eye-candy blockbuster? Hundreds! And this is one such refreshing example.

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