27th Jul2014

‘Apocalyptic’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jane Elizabeth Barry, David Macrae, Geoff Pinfield, Tom McCathie, Rachel Torrance, Ashleigh Gregory, Zoe Imms, Janice Paull, Natalia Nespeca, Donna Pope, Nalini Vasudevan, Felicity Steel, Meghan Scerri | Written and Directed by Glenn Triggs


By now you’re probably sick of me saying how much I detest found-footage films. After all I say the same thing when reviewing each and every new iteration of this growing sub-genre. But I have good reason: the majority film makers using the format are using it in place of good storytelling, in place of actually making a decent movie, in place of pretty much everything an audience would want out of a movie. And nowhere more is that prevalent than in the horror genre… Suspense is replaced by black screens and jump scares, tension is replaced by shaky cameras. You get the picture.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some great movies being made in the found footage format. The recently-released Across the River being a superb example, Willow Creek another. But by and large the format is home to some of the worst of examples the horror genre, it’s dominance in current horror output mirroring that of the slasher craze of VHS-heyday of the 80s.

So where does Apocalyptic sit on the found footage scale? Well for once I was intrigued by the setup… An Aussie take on the format, following a journalist and cameraman who head deep into the Australian bush in a bid to uncover the truth surrounding a bizarre doomsday cult, lead by a Jim Jones-like leader, called the ‘Bytherainians’. And billed as Blair Witch meets The Wicker Man no less? Hell yes I was intrigued.

Should’ve known I’d be disappointed. Nothing could live up to that really could it?

Apocalyptic is one of the worst examples of the found footage genre I’ve seen in some time. No since the hilariously titled Atrocious has a film shot in this format been such a letdown. Filled with talking heads, pointless shots of the cast wandering about and talking absolute rubbish to each other, the film wastes most of its running time on the mundane. Making the majority of this particular film an incredibly hard slog. In this reviewers opinion, the only thing this film really has in its favour is the magnetic performance of David Macrae as the creepy cult leader…

What makes things worst is that this is an Australian horror film. A country which was renown for it’s “ozploitation” epics and a country that has seen a renaissance in its genre output in recent years (just check out my review of Daddy’s Little Girl to see that), so expectations for any new horror film are undoubtedly going to be high. So a misfire such as Apocalyptic can only be doubly disappointing when compared to the Aussie greats that have come before it.

However, as I always say, if you’re a fan of the found footage format and films like Paranormal Activity, Blair Witch et al., you may enjoy this. Me? I’d rather rewatch Across the River again thanks.

Apocalyptic is released on DVD on July 28th courtesy of Monster Pictures.

One Response to “‘Apocalyptic’ DVD Review”

  • Paul Kepper

    I agree with you on this, staged horror is not for me! I prefer realistic horror. It doesn’t have to be blood and gore as that is not always realistic as it seems. I recommend a great book by Victoria Sutton called The Things That Keep Us Up At Night, if you read and enjoy horror films she has all sorts of great ones in her book. Bio horror is her specialty, and she writes on the realistic instances these movies portray. Pretty good read, her site is reelbiohorror.com. But I think all these like I said staged horror flicks give the really good ones a hard time.