Category: Movie Reviews
Written by Joel Harley
Published on Saturday, 24 August 2013 17:40
The Desert Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Written and directed by Christoph Behl
2013, 98 minutes
Lucas Lagre as Pythagoras
Luataro Delgado as Axel
Victoria Almeida as Ana
William Prociuk as Jonathan
Two guys, one girl and the end of the world. Trapped in a shack in the middle of the titular desert, Axel, Ana and Jonathan pass the time shooting zombies, getting tattoos, drinking wine and playing spin the bottle. It's like a post-apocalyptic version of Big Brother in which the housemates make diary room confessions, fall in love with one another and bicker violently.
A slow character piece rather than a roaring zombie horror film, The Desert is a quiet study of how three people react when put in an unenviable position. It's all fine and dandy at first, but even the very best of friendships will start to feel the strain after a while. Especially when you pop a little love and jealousy into the mix. With Jonathan and Ana sharing a bed every night, it's not long before Axel begins to feel isolated and lonely. Well, no-one likes to feel like a spare part.
As anyone who has seen Deadgirl will attest, male boredom and zombies are a dangerous mix. Thankfully there's no zombie rape, and the characters are much less awful than those of Deadgirl, but it's still not long before Axel and Jonathan have captured a walker for their own amusement. Men, eh. And there's Ana, left cleaning the house while the boys run off on their little expeditions, playing games of truth or dare, kidnapping zombies. Desperate and depressing, The Desert is a powerful statement on the strength of boredom. At times, it resembles that episode of The Young Ones in which the students are really, really bored. Even the zombie looks bored shitless.
At times, it's too effective. The film is directionless and often meandering, with nothing ever really happening. This is the side of zombie apocalypse they don't show you on The Walking Dead or George Romero's zombie movies – the sheer sense of boredom that comes with not being able to go to the pub, or to the cinema. “No government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, we are really bloody bored. Axel's so desperate for something to do that he has hundreds of flies tattooed all over his body. Jonathan drinks wine from the bottle. Ana spray paints a zombie. And there are flies everywhere – something else you don't really see on other zombie films. The Desert looks dirty, smelly and nasty. Just watching it made me feel like taking a shower.
Slow as it may be (and that would be the point) The Desert is an undeniably powerful film. It's excellently acted by all three leads (plus one zombie), particularly Lautaro Almeida as Ana, and looks great too. The low-budget zombie film is a subgenre ruined by hundreds of terrible Shaun and Dawn of the Dead rip-offs, but The Desert is one of the best I've seen in years. Not bad, considering there are only about two zombies actually in it.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.
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