Movie Review: The Sky Has Fallen (2009)

Action, drama, Horror, Movie Reviews

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The zombie sub-genre, for me, got stale very fast.  While I enjoy a good zombie flick, my motivation for seeking out new ones out is pretty low at this point.  However, The Sky Has Fallen isn’t just another throwaway zombie film; there’s a lot more going on here than basic survival in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by the undead, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Winner of Best Feature at the 2009 Freak Show Horror Film Festival and Best Horror Feature at the 2009 Indie Gathering Film Festival, as well as  nominated for Best FX at the 2012 Maverick Movie Awards, Doug Roos’ The Sky Has Fallen is a feature deserving of its accolades.  Furthermore, the fact that it’s all practical effects is sure to make it even more appealing to horror fans.  However, as good as the practical effects are (and believe me, they’re good), The Sky Has Fallen’s main strengths lie in its characters and story; both of which are well-developed and interesting.

A post-apocalyptic love story which is heavy on both drama and horror, The Sky Has Fallen follows Lance (Carey McLaren) and Rachel (Laurel Kemper); 2 strangers who meet through unfortunate circumstance, who must battle their way through the wilderness against swarms of the undead. Sound too familiar?  Well, it isn’t.  These zombies are merely puppets used for killing by a more sinister force – a mysterious clan of shadowy figures with extraordinary abilities, which happen to include raising the dead and controlling them at their whim.

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The Sky Has Fallen is a beautifully haunting story, aided by a fantastic original score which enhances its emotional impact.  Of course, without characters to root, there would be no emotional impact whatsoever, and Kemper and McLaren do a great job playing the protagonists, while possessing an on-screen chemistry which makes their relationship and quest for survival one worth rooting for – and gives the story a very human core.  If that sounds off-putting to horror fans looking for blood and guts then fear not; the best thing about this movie is how refreshingly original it is, but it never shy’s away from being gruesome when the opportunity arises.  And it’s glorious.

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By stripping things back, The Sky Has Fallen goes far.  It’s a low-budget, character driven story, rich in texture and ambitious in its storytelling.  It applies the ethos of classic Kurowasa samurai movies to modern post-Apocalyptic horror to create a haunting, yet compelling story of mystery, violence, action, loss and love – with plenty of zombies, mysterious horrors and red stuff thrown in for good measure. This is a great piece of independent filmmaking I urge you all to support. You can find a copy HERE.  8/10

Written & Directed By:

Doug Roos

Starring:

Carey MacLaren, Laurel Kemper, Corey Knisely

Genre:

Horror, Drama, Action

Running Time:

73 min

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Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Action, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi

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If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past week, you’ve heard the critics raving about Fury Road – as well as fans proclaiming their excitement in their drones.  This sequel/reboot/requel is the latest installment of the franchise that put Aussie filmmaking on the map – and to this day remains the Godfather of post-Apocalyptic mayhem, having stood the test of time since the previous film, Beyond Thunderdome (1985), 30 years ago.  George Miller returns to the helm where he belongs – and this time they’ve given him $150.000000 to spend along with full creative control.  Sounds like it could potentially be one of the best action movies of all time, doesn’t it?

Well it is.  Fury Road is a geeks wet dream brought to the screen.  It’s the R rated blockbuster we’ve been craving since the dawn of time.  Not only has George Miller brought us the most balls-to-the-wall carnage we’ve seen – well ever – but he’s delivered a blockbuster that’s, quite frankly, groundbreaking.  While others are content to entertain us within the parameters of the status quo, Fury Road accelerates through the super highways of tomorrow; it has its own little world in the desert wasteland, where no other movie can touch it.  Not only are the action sequences the equivalent of taking an assortment of hallucinogenic hyperactive drugs and throwing caution into a tornado only to return in the form of mass carnage; this is cinematic punk rock in every sense.  The characters are stranger than ever, with the villains spouting the most epic sounding nonsensical drivel you’ve ever heard, yet it’s befitting to their much welcomed derangement.  It’s a massive middle finger to the establishment. making other amazing summer action extravaganzas in recent years seem generic and inferior in comparison.  Sorry Furious 7, I really love you, but Fury Road just surpassed you by tenfold.

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Much to the dismay of men’s rights activists (I know, what the fuck are men’s rights activists?) who have boycotted the movie due to supposed feminist ideals, Fury Road is very empowering to its female characters, with Charlize Theron stealing the show in a spectacle that’s enriched with interesting characters; even the smallest bit part players are larger than life creations.  There was a moment where her character, Imperator Furiosa, and Max grasp hands in a show of unity: a statement declaring, that, in this world, equality of the sexes is going to be the thing that saves it.  That’s not to say the women are unstoppable killing machines, however.  Miller has no problem killing off expendables of both sexes in brutal ways.  It’s a no holds barred thrill ride that takes no prisoners.  When was the last time you saw a baby cut from a woman’s stomach in a the multiplex?

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Road Warrior, to this day, remains one of the greatest movies of all time. No hyperbole – it’s a classic that both stands the test of time and still remains fresh because there’s nothing else like it.  Fury Road might be even better.  It’s certainly on a par.  Regardless of what’s the best, Fury Road is one of the best movies I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing in my 25 years on this Earth.  11/10

Directed By:

George Miller

Written By:

George Miller, Brendan McCarthy & Nick Lathouris

Starring:

Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne

Genre:

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Running Time:

120 mins