REVIEW: THE FORGOTTEN / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: STEVEN BERRYESSA / SCREENPLAY STEVEN BERRYESSA / STARRING: DAVID EBY, LUKE HATMAKER, NOMALANGA ENIAFE,OLIVIA BISHOP, PHIL PERRY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Welcome to the end of the world – again. We’re not entirely sure exactly how the world ended this time but there seem to be a few zombies running around just for the hell of it. We don’t expect gag-a-minute comedy with party hats and silly string but does the apocalypse really have to be quite so grim, unpleasant and occasionally morally repugnant? The Forgotten (retitled from the original Falls the Shadow) is just another grimy, lo-fi, low-budget effort regurgitating tired old ideas and clichés and doing nothing especially interesting or entertaining with them.
The film’s clearly taking its cue from The Walking Dead, focussing on its characters and their predicament and with its token ‘zombies’ as the backdrop to the drama (and it even offers up familiar Walking Dead-style railway track/forest locations for some of its action); but the drama itself is flat and unengaging and the characters too cold and perfunctorily drawn to encourage us to really invest in their lives. The movie follows the fortunes of three disparate groups of survivors. Soldier Michael Colister (Eby) returns home to find his wife dead and his young daughter kidnapped by the vile, uncomfortably racist Reverend (Perry) and the gang of thugs and degenerates he’s enlisted to help him ‘reclaim’ the lost country. Elsewhere loner Noah (Hatmaker… brilliant, I’ll take two trilbies and a bowler) hooks up with feisty Elena (Bishop), and young mother Kina (Eniafe) is protecting her son Orlando (Jesse Warrick) who’s been bitten but hasn’t died and returned as a flesh-chewing zombie. The three groups eventually converge as the film trundles towards its predictable and inevitably violent climax.
The Forgotten compensates for its ‘seen-all-this-before’ status by at least looking quite good. Despite its bargain basement budget, it’s well-directed and its slightly bleached, burnished image manages to evoke a grimy world whose glory days are behind it and whose people have devolved into ruthless, desperate savages. But the insipid storyline, pedestrian script and half-hearted performances only serve to emphasise the amateur hour nature of the whole enterprise. The DVD cover suggests that The Forgotten is “set to be a cult classic” but we’re more inclined to suspect that the movie’s long-term fate lies hidden in plain sight in its own title.
Extras: ‘Making of’ documentary