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Movie Reviews

After The Dark




Released: 2013

Directed By: John Huddles

Starring: James D’Arcy, Sophie Lowe

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Robbie Cooper (

A philosophy professor challenges his students on their last day of class in Jakarta to a social experiment. If faced with the apocalypse, how would they narrow down their group of 21 students to 10 to successfully survive in a fallout shelter for a year?

Huddles delivers an fascinating picture that examines a very interesting philosophical concept. You have a group of people. Each individual person possesses a unique skill-set. One is an organic farmer. One is a structural engineer. One is a psychologist. But then you drop to a “lower” tier of specialties. Gelato server. Poet. Trades that are noble on their own but may not necessarily be in high demand when the world comes to an end. You also have to consider the future sexual needs that will exist as well. These students will need to reproduce. So ensuring a complimentary dynamic between the group is also a must. The future of the human race is at hand. That very study comes into play, and the final result is both thorough and at times unforgiving.

In a sense it’s a limited storytelling piece, similar in ways to Richard Schenkman’s 2007 picture The Man from Earth. The students never actually leave the classroom. But when you’re treated to the visual representation of the story, the film really is a feast for the eyes. Although the Indonesian classroom setting is nothing you want to look away from, you find yourself eager to get back to the imaginary world. The survivors are not confined to a concrete shelter below a run-down post office. The bunker is a modern sanctuary. The mahogany gates are open wide basically giving you a warm welcome to the futuristic quarters that is filled with sleek nooks and chrome crannies with all of the amenities and comforts they would need for a year. The story entertainingly plays out in multiple scenarios, each time putting the students in front of some marvelous natural backdrop that is inevitably about to be destroyed by an atomic blast.

We are living in an interesting time when it comes to film-making. Capable filmmakers are no longer handicapped by enormous budgets. If you have a appealing script and a good editing/video design team, you can still create a quality picture with impressive digital effects like those seen here. On paper it’s easy to sell you on this story. Instead of becoming over-indulgent on the visual elements or excessive with the gory parts, it doesn’t. It just relies on humanistic creed to sort out the problems at hand. Just like the students are taking the lesson seriously, the actors are really taking their performances seriously. In this sense the film plays out much more like Lord of the Flies and much less like a Final Destination film with it’s abrupt demise of any individual person. There are moral breakdowns going on. There are ramifications to each and every decision, and once the decision is made there is no turning back. You’re left to live out a year of life, possibly being the only people left alive on earth hoping that you have surrounded yourself with the right people.

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