Thursday, July 05, 2012

Heaven Can Wait in The Sky Has Fallen: A Movie Review

Director/writer: Doug Roos.

Cast: Carey MacLaren and Laurel Kemper.

The Sky Has Fallen is a curious movie that has plenty of potential should the zombie-ridden post-apocalyptic world get expanded upon. The survivors have took to the hills to hide. And instead of reclaiming the world, the emphasis this film makes is in how to forge relationships so another day will not feel so lonely.

At its face level, this movie looks like a low-budget version of Ninja Assassin. There is lot of liquid blood being spilt and tight-shots being filmed, and that’s part of this movie’s charm. But before viewers can even moan, “not another zombie film!” they should consider what the film is redefining: the walking dead. Viewers may laugh when they emerge out of nowhere just waiting to be killed. They are very placid, bereft of motion. They are not your typical ‘Hungry Hungry Hippos’ waiting around for their next victim to approach.

But in all seriousness, they may be representations of the skeletons that both Lance (Carey MacLaren) and Rachel (Laurel Kemper) have hiding in their closet. They have some demons to face too, especially in how the zombies took away their regular lives, and to kill them allows them to wake up from their nightmare.

This film is written, produced and directed by Doug Roos. He gives this film a kitchen-sink style of realism that is peppered with Akira Kurosawa-style moments. With MacLaren playing a very angry young man as the ninja, the correlation is appropriate. Lance has a lot of issues going for him, and this actor does a fine job in emoting that out for audiences to interpret.

Viewers may also find that this movie has a lot of dead air moments. The silence is sometimes unnerving, and it gives this movie an eeriness that is persuasive. The direction of these moments has the pacing of a soliloquy. The pauses seem awkward, and they only emphasize how isolated Lance and Rachel are to the world. As they struggle to survive, they find themselves besieged by strange watchers, mysterious figures robed in black or white. While Lance struggles to tear himself away from this woman, he also finds he cannot leave her alone.

That is more at the core of what this movie is about than in seeing the two embark on a quest to kill the new masters of the world. These strange robed individuals take the disposed bodies away to experiment on. With not many survivors left, the pockets of humanity have to find ways to get along. Not everyone Lance meets are kind; some have reverted to become primitive hunter-gatherers rather than become clansmen. With the relationship that develops between the two protagonists, they find that staying together is far more important than to forge around like bears.

True to Kurosawa’s style, the film’s fantastic soundscape creates a lyric quality that works in contrast to the visuals. Instead of going grungy or metal like most mainstream products, the score is orchestral. James Sizemore crafted the score that works great in contrast to the visuals presented by Roos, who also provides the cinematography.

But for audiences wondering who are these mysterious robed individuals that are haunting Lance, they may well be the survivors of the human race—mutants who did not die from by the renegade virus that nearly wiped out all of humanity. Beneath their robes is a strangely chitinous type of skin. The elongated fingers suggest that they might be insectoid.

When considering that cockroaches can easily inherit the Earth after any kind of holocaust, zombies or not, to see them turn human and become the next race is only a guess. Another film can help define what these strange robed creatures are, and this product does leave room for another story. Should that lead to a Beneath the Planet of the Apes moment, some anxious viewers will be waiting!

7.5 out of 10.

*the DVD release is fantastic. Not many video releases offer viewers a lesson in how to make their own makeup effects and show how it was done for this movie. Instead of providing an audio commentary, this release gets behind the scenes with really short featurettes that looks at the various stages of production.

Check out their official webpage here:

The Sky Has Fallen's Official Website

Or visit their Facebook at:

The Sky Has Fallen on Facebook

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