Fantasia 2015 Review: Extinction

In 2010 the hit television series Lost ended, and with it the careers of many of its stars. After the finale, the show’s hero Matthew Fox seemed to disappear. He did make a memorable appearance as the villain in Alex Cross (which costarred a brilliant Tyler Perry), but the film bombed, and once again Fox disappeared. In Miguel Ángel Vivas’ Extinction, Fox returns to play Patrick, and while his performance is memorable, the film is not.

After a short prologue, Extinction sets itself in a post apocalyptic America. The zombies introduced in the prologue have now died from the worldwide freeze over, leaving a handful of survivors in its wake. We are presented with three survivors: Patrick, his daughter Lu (Quinn McColgan), and his brother-in-law Jack (Jeffrey Donovan). For reasons to be explained, Lu has been raised by Jack, with the understanding that he is her father. The two live together in one home, while Patrick lives across the street with his dog. The three seem to have everything worked out, until Lu spots what may be a surviving zombie, adapted to the cold.

Quite a bit of Extinction plays like the successful Will Smith vehicle I Am Legend, specifically Patrick’s scenes. It is pretty surprising that Vivas did not try and distance the two films more. While entertaining, Extinction runs into its biggest problem with its characters. Aside from the precocious and super cute Lu, there really is not anyone to root for here. Matthew Fox plays up the demented hobo act a little too much, and Jeffery Donovan is just awful. In fact, the film’s most likeable character may be Patrick’s dog, who honestly does not get enough screen time.

While the screenplay may be the Extinction’s biggest weakness, its visuals are the saving grace. Vivas has made the most out of a relatively low budget, providing a realistic ice-age setting. This is certainly helped by the fact that for the most part the film only takes place in one location, and it is used wonderfully.

Extinction is the kind of film that starts out with a lot of promise and ambition that begins to fizzle out as things move along. As far as zombie films go, Extinction is fine, but it is ultimately forgettable.

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto based cinefile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, and Jacki Weaver.

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