As far as they know Axel, Jonathan and Ana are the last three human beings left on the planet. Together, they live in a claustrophobic bunker in a post-apocalyptic hell. Outside lies a perilous, urban landscape filled with the undead where they must scavenge and hunt for food and supplies.
There are countless tales of apocalyptic nightmares spread across film and television nowadays but none are like Christoph Behl’s What’s Left of Us. A fascinating character study disguised as a science fiction thriller, the film is a taught and emotional portrayal of three survivors struggling to make ends meet on the edge of oblivion. The set-up of the film might seem mundane but the end product is anything but. Set within the confines of a single run-down apartment the film slowly grows to become a claustrophobic account of what it would be like to live in a post apocalyptic world. This is both compelling and an utterly terrifying thought and Behl plays on these fears perfectly.
As director he is not afraid to take an incredibly slow approach to develop his characters and the world they live in. We rarely see what is going on outside their apartment but there is no mystery that the horrors outside their door is harrowing as the soundtrack is made entirely of the ambient sounds heard from outside of the isolated apartment. The low guttural groans and shuffles of the undead outside cement a thoroughly unsettling feel throughout the film. Starring in the leads are Lautaro Delgado as Axel, William Prociuk as Jonthan and the role of Ana is played by respected theatre actress Victoria Almedia. Each character has their own unique characteristics. Axel hides behind his obsession of tattooing his entire body, Jonathan pines for the love of Ana who is growing wiry of the world around her.
Their motivations and ways of dealing with their circumstances is also told through a series of confessionals given by each character to a video camera which later becomes pivotal to the plot of the film. I wont go into any further detail but I was thoroughly impressed by the performances as every member of the cast delivers a performance that sells the reality of the film. Overall, Christoph Behl’s take on the apocalyptic subgenre is undoubtedly interesting as it applies focus to the characters and not the nightmare world around them. As a thriller it is not entirely fresh and it does crawl along at a snails pace but What’s Left of Us remains an engrossing thriller that truly satisfies voyeuristic desires.
Words: Jon Dickinson (@marvelguy)