This review contains slight spoilers.
Director Drew Mylrea delivers a clever and entertaining dramatic thriller with Last Survivors. Starring Stephen Moyer, Drew Van Acker and Alicia Silverstone, the film is a dramatic thriller which adds a fascinating new spin to the dystopian science fiction genre.
Jake (Acker) and his father Troy (Moyer) live in the wilderness after having escaped humanity following a cataclysmic event. When Troy is injured, Jake must seek out medicine by venturing from their protected sanctuary. That’s when he meets Henrietta (Silverstone), a woman living in her own self-seclusion. For years Jake has been told that civilisation has collapsed – but he learns through Henrietta that this isn’t the case. Conflicted, Jake returns to his father but he’s drawn to the woman in the woods, who offers him the opportunity to have a mother figure and a lover.
Josh Janowicz’s screenplay for Last Survivors takes some well-worn tropes and adds a new spin. We’re initially led to believe the film is a post-apocalyptic drama in the vein of The Road, but it pivots to bring elements of family drama and even horror. It could be difficult to pull-off, but Drew Mylrea has a firm grasp on the material and he’s crafted a film which stands on its own terms. The lack of visual effects and the focus on story helps make the film feel timeless – it could be a holdover from the late 1990s – and that’s something I mean as a compliment.
Last Survivors has a small cast but Stephen Moyer, Drew Van Acker and Alicia Silverstone all put in assured performances. Each of the characters has internal pain and they need someone else to help lift this burden – this leads to a love triangle of sorts, a place where loyalty and love collide. It’s well played by all involved.
Shot on a modest budget, Last Survivors looks beautiful. Mylrea and cinematographer Julián Estrada perfectly utilise the film’s cold and crisp Montana wilderness. Filmed in a poetic way, the trees and snow almost feel that additional characters.
Showing that story and character are integral to a good film, Last Survivors begins by offering one thing, before guiding you in an unexpected and entertaining direction.