Extinction DVD Review
Directed by Niki Dozdowski
Written by Ralf Betz, Niki Dozdowski
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 113 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 27th August 2012
Deniel Buder as Tom Keller
Luise Bahr as Lisa Sattler
Jerry Coyle as Bill Sattler
Tobias Kay as Max Fischer
Lee Rychter as Luke
Bina Milas as Zara Kahloon
In the wake of a mysterious global pandemic (the kind that involves zombies), one man remains. Living in a deserted military base like a one-man version of Day of the Dead, Tom struggles with both his own loneliness and attempting to survive in a world where the (kinda) dead reign. Jogging, apparently, is the key to keeping busy during the end of the world.
Not that Tom is alone for long. He finds a handful of survivors in the nearest town, making this particular extinction seem very crowded. Cue the inevitable bickering, soul-searching and eventual bonding that the zombie apocalypse usually incurs. Alas, having just finished watching the second series of The Walking Dead, I found this slow, gloomy zombie film to be retreading far too much old territory. The plot is similar to 28 Days Later, crossed with I Am Legend and The Walking Dead, but with a much lower budget and German accents. In this day and age, when every other straight to DVD horror film is a zombie one (the rest all being found footage), movies such as Extinction are becoming lost amongst the chaff. Normally Extinction would be perfectly acceptable – but there's been so much like this of late, that it's becoming difficult to care.
As anyone who has ever read a Walking Dead comic will know, even the most secure of hideouts will be compromised eventually. Ditto Tom's military base, and it's not long before the survivors are under attack and on the road again. The world in which they find themselves living is grey, washed out and far too dark. It's little wonder everyone's so depressed – the constant darkness is probably causing them all to suffer from some variety of Seasonal Affective Disorder. As if that wasn't enough to cope with already, their zombies are of the aggressive, speedy variety. The cinematography may be bland and uninspiring, but the special effects and gore are nicely done. There are also some nice touches amongst the overdone stuff – one character refuses to remove his biohazard suit, so convinced is he that the virus is out to get him. Meanwhile, there's some solid action amongst the talkier stuff, including a bit of parkour and some very tense zombie attacks. The fact that everyone speaks with an accent (it is a German film, after all) is distracting but gives the proceedings an almost otherworldly vibe.
Were it not being released into an overinflated market, Extinction would be a worthy addition to the pantheon of intelligent, classy zombie horror. However, there's simply too much out there at the moment for it to make much impact. Rather than extinction, zombie cinema is really suffering from the opposite: massive overpopulation.
Video and Audio:
While atmospheric and mildly creepy, the film's cinematography is dull and far too dark. Too many scenes are ruined by characters sitting in rooms where it's impossible to see anything. It sounds fine, if a tad unremarkable.