Review: Extinction - The G.M.O. Chronicles / Cert: 15 / Director: Niki Drozdowski / Screenplay: Ralf Betz, Niki Drozdowski / Starring: Daniel Buder, Luise Bahr, Jerry Coyle, Tobias Kay, Lee Richter, Bina Milas / Release Date: August 27th
The zombie apocalypse is now officially out of control. Or rather, the endless tide of straight-to-DVD zombie apocalypse movies is out of control. Zombie this, zombie that, undead the other. We live in hope of a zombie film which is a bit different, with even the tiniest sliver of originality about it or at least some sign that its writers have got a trick or two up their sleeves that we‘ve not seen before. Extinction isn’t exactly that rarity - it’s basically the same old same old - but there are a few deviations from the ‘zombie virus’ norm which make it worth a look even if it’s not Romero firing on all cylinders.
We’re in Germany - for a change - and writer Tom Keller (Buder) has survived the end of the world. Everyone’s gone nuts and those who haven’t are being torn apart and devoured by rabid flesh-eaters. Tom takes refuge in an abandoned military installation out in the countryside, fights off encroaching undead ‘walkers’ and, inevitably, comes across other survivors, one of whom is an American who knows the truth about the virus which has raged across the world and brought Mankind to the brink of… well, extinction.
Extinction looks good - there’s a pleasing sense of desolation and bleakness in the cinematography - and there are actually a handful of decent ideas floating around. Extinction’s zombies come in several shapes and sizes; one has no eyes and shrieks like a banshee, another has green-blue skin, others seem to have fuzzy, werewolf-like faces. The idea of the zombies mutating is vaguely interesting until we realise that the final manifestation of that mutation seems to involve them all becoming hoodie-wearing, track-suited parkour experts more concerned with their nifty show-off acrobatics than feasting on human flesh. There’s also a decent subplot about leaking nuclear power plants spreading radiation poisoning. But on the downside - bearing in mind there’s not really that much of an upside - most of the acting is suspect, the action sequences are a bit lame and there’s no real explosive denouement which means the film just fizzles out.
There’s been worse zombie films than Extinction - probably at least another ten since you started reading this review - and whilst Extinction is ultimately just as forgettable as most of its genre, its distinctly European sensibility gives it some curiosity value if you really feel the need for a bit of unsophisticated zombie carnage.