Movie Review: Friend of the World

June 16, 2021

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Writer/director Brian Patrick Butler’s Friend of the World is a surreal take on postapocalyptic horror and science fiction. It’s like an extended episode of the original The Twilight Zone television series if Rod Serling or Charles Beaumont or the like accidentally ingested a mind-altering substance, or if pages from the treatments of Dr. Strangelove, Night of the Living Dead, and Apocalypse Now all got dropped on the floor and then hurriedly gathered together and mixed up.
Experimental filmmaker Diane (Alexandra Slade) wakes up in a room where she seems to be the only living person, as the floor is littered with dead bodies. After attempts to escape, she wakes up to see the shaving cream-lathered face of General Gore (Nick Young), a crusty, grizzled military member. Though the two are quite opposite in attitudes, they must work together to survive as they traverse through the bunker in which they are currently located.
Butler’s mostly black-and-white film often feels like a play — comparisons to Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit or Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, for example, would not be far off the mark — with its two main characters verbally sparring, often with dialogue that ups the ambiguity factor the further the duo goes along together in the bunker. Slade and Young are both solid in their roles, delivering that dialogue with fiery emotion.     
As for the horror factor, there are certainly some jolts and surprises in store for viewers, and without giving spoilers away, C.J. Martinez deserves mention for some jarring special effects makeup, as does Daniel N. Butler for his visual effects work.
Butler swings for the fences with Friend of the World, and it is an intriguing feature film debut for him. The film is not for everybody, but for viewers looking for unusual genre fare, it is definitely worth giving a shot. I’m glad that I did. 
Friend of the World is streaming on PLEX TV at https://watch.plex.tv/movie/friend-of-the-world.


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