Lost In Apocalypse Movie Review
Written by Becky Roberts
Released by Tencent Pictures
Directed by Sky Wang
Written by Sky Wang and Baiying Wu
2018, 85 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Fractured Visions Film Festival Screening on 30th September 2018
If your bag is fast-paced action adventure zombie movies (which is fine as long as you have time for those inspired by George Romero’s slow shufflers too), you’d do well to check out the likes of South Korea's Train to Busan (2016), Ravenous (2017) and, if the gap in your movie-watching extends back to 2009, Zombieland. And when you’ve ticked those must-sees off your list, you could do a lot worse than making your next venture into the living dead Lost In Apocalypse.
This Chinese action adventure (based on Rubio Cao's graphic novel), about a random group fleeing a virus-infested hotel, doesn’t have a very standout title, or a cast you’ll recognize. Very much spinning the familiar zombie apocalypse yarn, it doesn’t have a particularly inspiring plot on paper either.
But what makes Sky Wang’s directorial debut worthwhile is its allegiance to high-adrenalin action without sacrificing narrative progression and character development. It’s one of the racier zombie movies – a tone it sets from the opening sequence as we see a haggard group of survivors escaping an undead horde to find sanctuary in a factory.
When we see them safe but not alone, the plot backtracks a day earlier to a film production meeting in a hotel penthouse suite, where the group (which includes the film’s director, a narcissistic producer and his abiding driver, a TV actress and humble journalist) meets for the first time. When a virus breaks out (over lunch of all times) they must find their way out of the hotel and to Blue Mountain Base where the director thinks they’ll be safe, overcoming both the dead (and alive) obstacles that stand in their way.
While Lost in Apocalypse struggles to find claims of narrative originality – branding it just another apocalypse movie does seem fair – that doesn’t take away from the fact that it achieves a rare feat in succinct and fast-moving storytelling. Wang’s tightly wrapped 85-minute tale of survival can be hailed for its well-choreographed action sequences, not to mention some of the most grotesque and violent zombies that have ever graced the screen.
But also to its credit, it isn’t just some high-action, mindless bloodbath. Wang’s script doesn’t forget to lift its foot off the pedal to pause for reflection and consider its characters, and to some extent it succeeds in tugging on the heartstrings to similar effect as Train to Busan (without quite the heart-wrenching climax of course).