Written by: Daniel Hadley
Directed by: Zak Hilditch
Cast: Nathan Phillips, Sarah Snook, Jessica De Gouw, Daniel Henshall
If you only had 10 hours left to live what would you do? Would you take your own life? Would you murder? Would you rape? Would you drown out your pain and anguish with drugs, alcohol and orgies? When faced with the futility of your own mortality your mind can go to strange dark places and all of these things are explored in These Final Hours, an independent Australian film that only recently hit video on demand. This is one of the bleakest movies I have seen in a long time and while it left me feeling a little emotionally beaten and bruised it truly is a great movie that revels in its own depravity and finds beauty in the simplest of things.
Pre-apocalypse movies are quite rare; the last one I remember was the somewhat misunderstood Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and both that movie and this deal with the ensuing extinction of the human race via a giant meteorite heading towards earth. While Seeking a Friend took a more light hearted and comedic route These final hours goes for grit and honest brutal realism, there are scenes in this movie that hit you like a shotgun blast to the chest, the movie beats you down with one bleak scenario after another; a father dealing with the decision to end his children’s lives while their mother reads them a story book is just one of many scenes that left me with a hard knot in the pit of my stomach.
The story is simple: James decides to spend his last day on earth partying at his friends mansion but when he comes across a young girl about to be raped he can’t ignore it and after he saves her he’s left to choose between helping her get back to her family and getting to his party. Like I said, it’s simple but it didn’t need to be anything more than that. This is a movie about people and just what we are capable of when we are pushed to the breaking point and just what we’ll do when faced with our own inescapable doom. Everyone in this movie is faced with utter hopelessness and the mental toll of knowing that everything is going to end is just too much for most to handle.
Everything about These Final Hours is well done. Writer/director Zak Hilditch has done a fantastic job, everything in this movie is handled so well. The acting is flawless, Nathan Phillips of Wolf Creek and Chernobyl Diaries fame does a great job of playing a man torn between his own desire to drown everything away in a haze of drugs and alcohol and his own human decency. Angourie Rice shows an incredible amount of skill playing a young girl who is lost and confused in a world that is falling apart, she brings a great amount of depth to her role. Her final moments in the movie are so heartbreakingly innocent that I felt my bottom lip begin to wobble.
This is not a movie for everyone and not everyone I have shown it to have liked it as much as me, but the most common complaint is that it’s just too depressing and I wouldn’t argue with that. But what this movie ultimately is, is a movie about knowing what is truly important and seeking out that one thing that can comfort you in the darkest of times, which is what James is looking for as he moves from location to location.
While this movie is not a straightforward horror I feel horror fans will appreciate its harsh nature and its brutal realism. There are several things to enjoy about These Final Hours and if you get the chance check it out, it’s a bleak journey but it’s worth taking