‘The Sky Has Fallen’ is a Commendable Effort but Suffers from a Few Problems (Review)
Written by: Daniel Hadley
Direcotor: Doug Roos
Cast: Carey MacLaren, Laurel Kemper
I was torn on how to review this movie as being an Indie movie with a micro budget it deserves some praise for being able to achieve what it did, but as a reviewer I have to be honest and I just can’t overlook the negatives, even if the movie’s tiny budget does afford it some leniency. I commend the director Doug Roos for also taking on the task of writing editing and producing, that’s a hefty load to bear but I think that outsourcing some of these tasked would have benefited the production as it appears he spread himself too thin.
After a zombie like infection spreads rapidly through the human populace the few survivors that remain head out into the wilderness to escape the devastation, Lance a man in black wielding a samurai sword comes across Rachel after saving her from a bunch of zombies the two brave the wilderness together dispatching zombies as Lance seeks to take out their leader, now what’s a little confusing is that while there are zombies in this movie there are also shadow cloaked hooded figures with needle like fingers controlling them, but the dialogue between our two main characters is constantly contradicting what we see, they constantly refer to an infection but then it’s not an infection its possession, then it’s the zombie being directly controlled by these hooded wraiths, the narrative gets a little jumbled but the meat of the story is Lance is going to kill their leader its simple but it works
One thing that Doug Roos proudly states is this film has ‘No CGI and no shaky cam’ and true to his word neither are present. The gore effects are akin to mid-to-late eighties horror and that’s fine. They don’t look great but they look good enough that you can ignore their short comings. The main problem though is that the camera often lingers on gore shots for a little too long making it much easier to pick them apart for what they are. This isn’t always the case but it happens often enough that it became a distraction.
I was glad that the Doug Roos steered clear of shaky cam, that migraine inducing crutch of a film technique is just poor filmmaking. Only one or two directors know how to use is right, so during the many action scenes of zombies being both gunned down and sliced up with a samurai sword I was happy to see the camera remain static, but as appose to shaky cam Roos instead opts for almost consistent close ups so the action is very hard to make out, watching the blood and viscera fly here there and everywhere would have looked infinitely better had I been able to see it from a few feet back and sadly this is happens in every action scene which is a shame because I haven’t seen a group of zombies get decimated with a katana since 2000’s Versus another low budget movie featuring zombies and sword fighting But that was a Japanese movie and that sort of thing is their bread and butter (seriously if you haven’t seen Versus Check it out its awesome)
Another issue that took me out of the movie was that the focus often shifts away from our main character to show scenes of bloody violence taking place completely out of context from the rest of the plot, we’ll be following our Lance and Rachel and then all of a sudden the movie would cut to a different location to show some poor people we’ve never seen before being mutilated and then we cut straight back to our leads, it’s incredibly jarring and draws focus away from the main plot, and being that this movie runs only seventy nine minutes with credits they eat up and considerable chunk of the running time, being that these are just random character brought in from left field there is no fear or tension in these scenes and they appear to have been added just to pad out the films length.
Onto the acting which for me is the foundation of any movie, without good acting your movie will just crumble and fall way into the abyss, this movie just barely saves itself from such hellish nothingness. The acting is pretty wooden; Rachel appears is an almost emotionless husk but on a few occasions she’s made to shed a tear or two they come quite convincingly and lance is our standard stoic loner hero type so being detached from his emotions kind of worked, the few other random character we see are all fine although screaming in both fear and pain isn’t anything too taxing for an actor but credit where credit is due they were convincing in their plight.
On last thing to mention before I sum up is the dialogue which to me sounded very unnatural, like the writer was making the characters say what he wanted them to say instead of what they would naturally be saying it’s hard to explain because you probably thinking “but of course the writer makes his characters say what he wants them to say, how very droll” well the conversations just have no flow to them and the majority of the dialogue is pretty copy paste from scene to scene as both characters talk about how hard they’ve had since the outbreak .
A lot of people seem to give lower budget indie movies a pass because well they are lower budget indie movies, I think that’s a bad thing as young first time film makers should know where they need to improve and grow to become better at their chosen craft, if you never know what you’re doing wrong why would you ever stop, so The sky has fallen is a commendable effort but due to some glaring problems I can’t really recommend it.
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