19th Aug2013

‘The Last Days’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Quim Guttierez, Jose Coronado, Marta Etura, Leticia Dolera, Isak Ferriz | Written and Directed by Alex & David Pastor

thelastdays-cast

The directing duo behind the underrated Carriers, Alex and David Pastor, return for yet another slice of post-apocalyptic horror with The Last Days, which sees a mysterious epidemic known as The Panic spread across the planet – essentially extreme agoraphobia, this new-found irrational fear of open spaces leads to instant death and soon the world’s population remains trapped inside buildings afraid to move. As Barcelona descends into chaos Marc embarks on a citywide quest to search for his pregnant girlfriend Julia without setting foot outside. Teaming up with his hated boss Enrique who was just about to fire him, this means travelling via sewer, subway line, cellars and basements, avoiding opportunistic feral gangs, armed only with a failing GPS device and lots of ingenuity.

Despite differing wildly in subject matter, The Last Days shares a lot in common with George Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead. Romero’s film spoke about consumerism, with malls becoming tombs for the dead to roam, only here its our very homes that are to be our tombs (although some survivors do hole-up in an abandoned supermarket inside a mall) and this time the film is a metaphor decline of a civilization, an allegorical tale about societies ever-growing insular attitude. After all we all like to get home and lock our doors to the outside world, only seeing “life” through the TV or the internet with many – especially the older generation – too afraid to even step outside due to sheer fear of what they see as a deteriorating society. The Last Days takes these ideas to the extreme in ways only the horror genre can.

However surprisingly, for a film about being trapped inside, there’s never any sense of claustrophobia or any real sense of terror from the outside world either for that matter; much like Carriers this is about the people involved, not the situation that surrounds them – consider The Last Days more of an apocalyptic road movie than out and out horror. Thankfully the film has a great cast on which to hang its tale – Quim Gutiérrez and José Coronado are a fantastic pairing, both bringing something different to the table and the relationship between their characters clearly grows as the film goes on. Plus its great to see REC 3‘s Leticia Dolera kick some ass, even if her appearance is all too brief.

Wit just the right mix of action and emotion, combined with some stunning visuals (including a fight with a bear and a battle with some feral survivors as a building burns and collapses around them), The Last Days makes up for any shortcomings in its story with a truly superb life-affirming, yet bittersweet, ending.

**** 4/5

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