Descendents (2008) review

Descendents (2008) review

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Possibly as interesting as it gets in Descendents. A scene where there is nothing happening.
Possibly as interesting as it gets in Descendents. A scene where there is nothing happening.

Zombie Apocalypse: The Dull Edition

The truth of the matter is that Descendents just isn’t very good. Sure, it meets my requirements for logical zombies (in that the rules are established and are maintained) and the attacks on the living are occasionally good. The zombies look half decent and the post-apocalyptic setting are likewise acceptable. But there are two significant areas in which Descendents falls horribly flat.

First, the non-zombie effects don’t seem to have any consistency. The sky occasionally has an orangey–red filter applied to it, although not always consistently. In one close up shot in particular, half of the sky is orange and the other half is blue. Unless this was a deliberate move on the director’s part to imbue some subtext to the scene, it smacks of lazy effects editing. It just doesn’t work anywhere near as well as hoped. At least with the likes of Chrysalis there was consistency to the world, the effects and the undead. So it goes, I guess.

Second, the story makes absolutely no sense, doing nothing with the concept, the characters and resolutely fails to entertain the audience. Not something you would hope to get from a zombie film. Even if the story is terrible, the zombie attacks usually makes up for any shortcomings in that area. Not so in this case.

This is made all the worse by the film’s final moments, which form a twist too far after all of the zombie carnage that has preceded it. Rather than the almost gritty post-apocalyptic setting it had originally set up, it degrades into a subpar fantasy story for about fifteen seconds before, mercifully, the credits roll and you can make your escape. Well, unless you sit through the almost pointless newsreel footage that takes up a good few minutes of the credits and takes time to explain the very beginning of the viral outbreak. Yes, because after seeing that ending we need reminding of exactly where we started and where it went so horribly wrong. And by “it”, I mean the screenplay for this film.

Ooh, a bit of action!
Ooh, a bit of action!

Finally, the lead child actor, Camille Lynch, is frankly terrible. More often than not she barely seems conscious of the fact she’s supposed to be acting in a film. Instead, she spends most of her time staring blankly into the distance and demonstrating the emotional range of a cabbage.

By the time the film reached its end I didn’t care at all that Camille (the character has the same name as the actor) was immune to the virus and that the zombies won’t attack her. To be honest I kind of wished they would, if nothing else than to point the focus at another character who I might care a little more about. Her dull voiceover does little to support her role in these events – it’s like the original cut of Blade Runner all over again.

If you ever wondered how to make a zombie apocalypse dull and boring, then look no further than Descendents. You never know, if zombies did exist and this was the world that followed, you might stand half a chance of surviving.

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