15th May2015

‘What’s Left of Us’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lautaro Delgado, Victoria Almeida, William Prociuk, Lucas Lagre, Maria Figueras | Written and Directed by Christoph Behl

What's-Left-Of-Us-DVD

Axel, Jonathan and Ana live together in a fortified house, a safe haven bunker after a global catastrophe. Outside is a threatening apocalyptic landscape – inside was once a perfect three-way bond of supportive friendship. Now that has been torn apart by Ana forming a close relationship with Jonathan leaving frustrated Axel alone, tattooing his body with flies. However everything changes when Axel and Jonathan go out on an expedition in search of provisions and return home with a zombie that they call Pythagoras.

Zombies films are ten-a-penny these days, with a new film seemingly released each and every week, so it takes something quite special to truly stand out from the crowd. What’s Left of Us is one such movie.

Taking everything we know about the genre and throwing it out of the window, What’s Left of Us is, for the most part, a slow burning character study of just what it is like to be survivors in a zombie apocalypse. The highs and lows, the wants and needs and even the mundane. Added to the mix is a love-triangle between our three protagonists: Axel, Jonathan and Ana. Beginning as a “family” of survivors, over the years Jonathan and Ana have paired off leaving Axel out in the cold, left to lust over Ana via the vlogs they tape as a record of their life in the apocalypse.

Despite the (refreshing) lack of focus on the zombies at their door, the film still manages to build tension through Axel, Jonathan and Ana’s relationship and what a twisted relationship it is. Whilst Jonathan “dates” Ana, he knows Axel lusts after her and secretly shares her body with him – stripping Ana naked whilst she sleeps to let Alex see what he’s missing. They even go as far as to make an unspoken pact – discussing which part of Ana they each like to perv on, then helping each other do so. And things get decidedly more twisted when Jonathan and Axel head off on a scavenger mission and bring back a zombie to their camp. Axel uses him as a punching bag whilst Ana gives him a name, treating him as a bizarre form of pet. As the tension between the Ana and Axel builds so does their anger – and they take it out on their now chained-up zombie captive. Things then spiral further out of control as Ana discovers Axel has been watching her vlogs behind her back and she begins taunting him, observing his every move, which leads the pair to begin a weird almost-symbiotic “relationship” via their video recordings….

Less zombie film and more familial horror, What’s Left of Us is a superb example of what filmmakers can do within the confines of the horror genre. Writer/director Christoph Behl ignores all the tropes and cliches of the zombie movie and crafts a film with makes the horror much more human. This is about what humans do to each other – the games we play, the way we treat each other – not about how we cope with an enemy at the door. And in this case the enemy, it seems, is ourselves, as base instincts of survival, selfishness and lust take over, with no thought on the impact they have on others – and on ourselves.

Showing just why the horror genre is such a powerful storytelling medium, What’s Left of Us is one of the best “zombie” movies I’ve seen in a very, very, long time.

***** 5/5

What’s Left of Us is available now on DVD from Peccadillo Pictures.

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