Starring: Matthew Fox, Jeffrey Donovan, Quinn Mccolgan
Directed by: Miguel Ángel Vivas
Running time: 113 Minutes
Year of release: 2015
If I was searching for a quick description of Extinction I would call it 28 Days Later meets 30 Days of Night although unfortunately it is not on a par with either of those films. Extinction stars Matthew Fox (Lost) and Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice, Fargo) co-star in this zombie apocalypse that is too short on action and too long on family drama.
We are thrust into the middle of a zombie infestation with two men, Patrick (Fox) and Jack (Donovan) and a woman named Emma and her infant. The infection is similar to that of the type seen in 28 Days later where the victims turn almost immediately into blood-enraged monsters. Their bus is attacked by infected leaving them to fight their way to safety. In the process, Emma is bitten, dooming her. Cut ahead some 9 years and the two men are living in the perpetually snow-covered town of Harmony where it seems the zombies have finally died out. The baby Lu is now a child and living with Jack. Despite the fact that Patrick lives right next door the two men no longer have a relationship.
Much of the early and middle part of the film explores the strange dichotomy between the two men. While Jack lives as normal an existence as possible and raising Lu. Meanwhile Patrick broadcasts a nightly radio show every night to…no one. Spinning records and rambling incoherently as the isolation begins to take its toll on his sanity. The two men do not speak and, in fact, Jack becomes agitated when he sees Patrick talking to Lu.
While off scavenging supplies in a neighboring town, Patrick encounters the first zombie he’s seen in years although this one is different. The zombies have evolved over the years to adapt to the colder, snowy climate with thicker skin but are now blind and hunt by sound and smell. Their bite also no longer infects victims. Soon the single zombie turns into dozens as they descend upon Harmony to attack the survivors.
Extinction had an interesting premise but it was fumbled badly by Director Miguel Ángel Vivas. The film checks in just short of two hours and is easily twenty minutes too long. The reason for the tension between Jack and Patrick takes far too long to resolve and frankly is not that interesting. The world has undergone a cataclysm and these two guys are giving each other the silent treatment yet still living next to each other in town. The middle part of the film drags interminably. I found myself playing with my phone, waiting for anything to happen. Nine years hardly seems to be enough time for zombies to have evolved to their new climate. Since these are adult zombies they would have been around before the outbreak. There seems little reason for their bite to lose their infection spreading ability.
Vivas attempts to salvage the film in the final 20 minutes by staging an all-out assault on Patrick’s house by scores of zombies and if you haven’t already lost interest the final part is at least bordering on exciting. In the final analysis, however, there’s too much drama and not enough zombies to raise this above mundane.
There are 8 very short featurettes including a behind-the-scenes piece and several very short items on visual effects, creature design, and the main characters.