Directed by Logan McMillan [Other horror films: N/A]
This film pretty much feels like New Zealand’s answer to Shaun of the Dead (Zombieland came out some months after this, but that possibly influenced this also). A low-budget flick with a small cast but a lot of heart, Last of the Living is a generally enjoyable watch.
Despite using some techniques that I never much cared for (such as blood splatter hitting the camera), this movie did pretty well with the small budget they possessed. Plenty of fun fighting sequences, not to mention a few enjoyable collages, and just some stand-out smaller scenes, such as when the three main characters go shopping. It wasn’t anything special, but it just felt right, for lack of a better description. Special effects weren’t that amazing, but personally, I think the characters and the overall fun of the film sort of make up for that shortcoming.
The cast, with all due respect, are pretty much nobodies. Our three main male characters, played by Morgan Williams, Robert Faith, and Ashleigh Southam, all did pretty good with their roles, and all three were pretty likable characters (Williams’ character could be a dick at times, but he was still a mostly solid guy). Southam in particular was a fun actor, playing a somewhat nerdy, yet still efficient, zombie killer. Emily Paddon-Brown, playing about the only serious character in the film, was both a beauty to behold and honestly, probably put up one of the better performances in the movie.
Because there are virtually only four important characters in the film, it sort of helps add to the whole “last of the living” type vibe, even though we know there has to be more people out there. There were some pretty touching scenes, even, toward the end of the film, which came across sort of a surprise given this is pretty much your run-of-the-mill zombie comedy. The soundtrack was also pretty solid, for the most part.
The biggest flaw here is that the movie runs a bit longer than I’d have liked. Sort of felt a bit spread thin near the end, say the final ten minutes. If it could have been wrapped up in 80 minutes, and it easily could have been, I’d argue it’d come out a bit better. Not only does it drag a bit toward the end, but the ending itself wasn’t really what I’d have expected from a movie like this. Nothing is wrong with it, it just went a route I would’ve preferred the film left alone. Lastly, while most of the comedy is perfectly fine, there were a few small scenes that didn’t do it for me. That, along with some minor audio quality issues, weren’t that big a deal, but if you’re going into this looking to be disappointed, I think they’ll definitely stand out.
Sure, Last of the Living isn’t much different than Shaun of the Dead, and certainly didn’t introduce anything new (though I’d argue it’s much the same case with most zombie films), but it had some pretty fun characters, enjoyable and touching scenes, and overall a sort of low-budget party vibe to it. Does it run a bit long? Sure, but I can certainly see myself putting this in my DVD played again and giving it a third viewing. It wasn’t original, but I don’t think it was meant to be. It was meant to be fun, and I think Last of the Living succeeded.