Movie Review: “Last Survivors” (Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween Edition)

November 22, 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.

Last Survivors, the latest entry in the thriller subgenre of “children beginning to question their parents’ philosophies after an apocalyptic event” (this year’s Gaia being one example) is a solid outing fueled by fine performances from its three leads. 

Troy (Stephen Moyer) is a stern man who has raised his adult son Jake (Drew Van Acker) from very young childhood in a remote mountain area, with the two of them living off the land and storing venison jerky for long winters. Troy has been training Jake to kill any intruders without hesitation to protect what is theirs, and Jake declares himself ready to do so. 

When Troy is injured during one such confrontation, he tells Jake where a supply of medicine is hidden. The young man goes to fetch it and spies a woman just outside of their property. He has second thoughts about shooting her, and instead breaks into her house, where he learns that her name is Henrietta (Alicia Silverstone), opening a Pandora’s box that puts him in conflict with everything Troy has taught him.

To reveal more than this would be doing a disservice to future viewers. Suffice it to say that drama and tension escalate, and that there are casualties. Varying reasons for conflict arise, some of which would appeal greatly to Freudian scholars and aficionados of Greek tragedy.  

Director Drew Mylrea, working from a screenplay by Josh Janowicz, balances the dramatic and thriller tension levels well, aided by committed turns from Silverstone, Moyer, and Van Acker. Some of the plot turns may be familiar to fans of the aforementioned subgenre, but Last Survivors also offers a good deal of original approaches, making the film well worth a recommendation. 

Last Survivors screened as part of Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween Edition, which ran in London, U.K. on October 29 and 30, 2021.

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