WHAT WE BECOME [Dead by Dawn]

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In the quiet Danish town of Sorgenfri, life exists in a bland idyll. The suburban lives of nuclear families and backyard barbeques drift by with quiet normality, with the most anyone has to worry about being a teenage boy perving over the cute girl who’s just moved in over the road, something she doesn’t prove to be exactly averse to anyway. However, after reports begin to emerge of a mysterious viral contagion sweeping the country a quarantine zone is soon put up and not long after armed police begin roaming the local streets, ostensibly for the populace’s safety but clearly pre-empting the virus’ possible appearance in them. Which, of course, it inevitably does.

The worldwide epidemic of zombie fever now makes it to Denmark, with What We Become being the first (and almost certainly not the last) undead apocalypse movie to come out of the Scandinavian nation. The timing of its appearance is unfortunate in that it will garner numerous comparisons to Fear the Walking Dead, and while there are certainly parallels between the two, FTWD will forever exist in that shadow of its seminal parent show and be driven by a lingering journey towards the desolation of Days Gone Bye, while in What We Become, the contagion itself is very much a secondary consideration in the story’s structure. Far more significant is how the possibility of its appearance affects people’s behaviour towards one another, keeping the focus very much on the relationships between the living rather than how they survive against the ravenous dead.

While most zombie films take place over a matter of hours, or a few days at most, the seemingly endless torment – first psychological, then physical – that the characters endure pushes them towards breaking point as time passes. As things go from bad to worse with seemingly no end in sight despair begins to set in, and with it the gradual fraying of the ordinary decency that allows human society to remain functioning. The synth-heavy soundtrack is more than a little reminiscent of early John Carpenter, which is rather appropriate given that the atmosphere evokes the same sense of claustrophobic oppression as the thrillers from which he made his name.

Although the title has the obvious implication of the transformation undergone by anyone to become infected by the virus, it also has the far more significant connotation of how those few who remain physically unaffected nevertheless find themselves psychologically tainted, their sanity and humanity each being gradually eroded by the endless ordeal, and what kind of person the rising desperation eventually turns them into.

What We Become is a very human zombie movie, and asks us to consider how we would react if placed in the same situation and consider what we would truly be capable of when pushed to and beyond our limits.

WHAT WE BECOME / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: BO MIKKELSEN / SCREENPLAY: BO MIKKELSEN / STARRING: MILLE DINESEN, TROELS LYBY, BENJAMIN ENGELL, MARIE HAMMER BODA, ELLA SOLGAARD, MIKAEL BIRKKJÆR, THERESE DAMSGAARD / RELEASE DATE: TBC

 


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