Saturday, October 8, 2016

WHAT WE BECOME (2016) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Scream Factory I IFC Midnight
Release Date: October 18th 0216 
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 81 Minutes
Audio: Danish DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.4o:1) 
Director: Bo Mikkelsen
Cast: Benjamin Engell, Ella Solgaard, Marie Boda, Mikael Birkkjær, Mille Dinesen, Rita Angela, Therese Damsgaard, Troels Lyby

Synopsis: The Johansson family — mom, dad, their rebellious teenage son, and young daughter — are looking forward to a quiet summer in their idyllic suburban town. But in the blink of an eye, things go from blissful to berserk when a horrifying plague tears through the community. After a string of grisly deaths, the government puts the neighborhood on lockdown. But one thing soon becomes terrifyingly clear: you can’t quarantine the apocalypse. This nightmarish, blood-soaked shocker establishes sharply drawn, recognizably real characters—and then watches what happens when they’re put through the wringer to survive.

What We Become (2016) is the feature film debut of director Bo Mikkelson, who has directed a handful of short films previously. It begins as a viral outbreak movie, slowly it turns into a traditional slow-moving zombie movie that plays more than a few cards straight from deck of nightmare-maker George A. Romero. We have some okay character building, the slow-moving zombies and of course a government who just cannot be trusted when the zombie-apocalypse turns life upside down. 

The movie focuses on the Johansson's, we have father Dino (Troels Lyby), mother Pernille (Mille Dinesen), teenager Gustav (Benjamin Engell) and his younger sister Maj (Ella Solgaard). They're not too dissimilar from the average American family and are easy to relate to, the younger one is spoiled, the teen is somewhat rebellious, dad is the cool parent and mom is the disciplinarian. We see what's happening primarily through the eyes of teenager Gustav, a good kid whose hormones are kicked into overdrive with the arrival of the new neighbor girl Sonja (Marie Hammer Boda), whom he spies on with a pair of binoculars, and is embarrassingly caught doing so, but he still makes his move the next day without any shame.  

At first we have the usual trappings of a viral outbreak which slowly evolves into a traditional zombie movie, though it seems the movie seems to want to keep you guessing about it for awhile, but if you've seen enough of these movies you will see where it is headed miles away. 

At just eighty-one minutes the movies does cut to the chase quick, we hear news reports of a weird virus affecting the community through a series of sporadic news reports, then an elderly woman reports her husband has died but when neighbors arrive on the scene his body is nowhere to be found. Soon after heavily armed military men in gas masks arrive, covering houses with plastic wrap and rounding up anyone showing signs of infection. Gunfire is heard the night, the the whole neighborhood is now under quarantine and residents are forbidden to venture outside their homes. It really does feel a whole lot like the first season of Fear The Walking Dead to a degree, with a bunch of Romero-isms straight out of Day of the Dead and The Crazies, and what sort of ruins the movie is that the whole thing feels so damn familiar. 

I probably sound a bit negative on it but the movie is actually not a bad watch, it moves at a nice pace and the action is good and plenty in the last half of the movie. Mikkelsen generates some good tension throughout and the it helps that the cast are solid. The issue I am having with it is that if you've even seen a handful of zombie movies you're gonna know where its headed long before it gets there and that is a big problem for me. I'm in the middle on this one, it's not a movie you need to own, but you probably won't hate it if you do give it a spin, but are you gonna watch it again, probably not. A classic one and done for me. That being said, I am looking forward to what director Bo Mikkelsen does next, there's enough of a spark and just enough style here to make me want to keep an eye on this guy.