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Film Review: The Sky Has Fallen (2009)

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SYNOPSIS:

Within a couple of hours, a new disease wipes out almost all of mankind. Trying to avoid infection, people flee to remote locations, but they start seeing mysterious black figures, carrying away the dead and experimenting on them. Now, Lance and Rachel, two survivors determined to fight back, must kill the leader of these creatures before the rest of humanity disappears.

REVIEW:

Been quite a while since I’ve gotten a new review done. Had a bit of a disaster over here. Long story, but I’m back!

Today’s selection is a film from 2009 called THE SKY HAS FALLEN, written/produced/directed/edited by Doug Roos(look him up…he has quite a long listing in various departments). Yes, it’s one of those films where one or two people wear an extraordinary number of hats. I have said in the past that this is usually a red flag for me, but this film was surprisingly pretty decent. There also seem to be an amazing number of producers, so perhaps this film was crowd-funded. I don’t really know for certain.

The story is a bit War of the Worlds, zombie outbreak, buddy picture, and post-apocalypse all at the same time. An invading species arrives in the form of spores. They infect a human host, ultimately exploding out of the body and killing the host. Then the body is stitched together and used as a mindless zombie warrior to carry out minor tasks.

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We meet two survivors, Lance (BLACKLIST star Carey MacLaren in his first film role) and Rachel (Laurel Kemper). Lance has been making his way through this nightmare landscape for quite some time and has gotten very skillful at keeping himself alive. Rachel, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have those skills. At the time they meet, Lance has to rescue her from the aliens/zombies.

Lance and Rachel both had the same great idea – leave the city centers and head into the forests. The monsters seem to be focused on places where the human population is highest so out in the sticks our heroes may stand a better chance of going on unnoticed.

But Lance has also figured out something else…the invaders have a leader, which Lance believes is out in these woods somewhere. He’s confident that if he kills the leader, this will all end. At the time at which Lance rescues Rachel, he is actively tracking this mysterious leader.

Our heroes are being pursued by hooded figures in black that seem to be directing the carnage. Sometimes brainless zombies, sometimes the shadowy figures do their own dirty work. They also seem to have an ability to get inside human’s brains and make them hallucinate or act against their free will.

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While we do meet other characters through the course of the film, the real focus is on Lance and Rachel. This is really a character study, short on exposition but thick with exploration. The characters are numb, almost emotionless, as they discuss the horror each has witnessed and survived. Even in the rare moments of humour or anger, they are still blank. Normally one would consider a blank actor to be failing in their role, but in this context it makes sense and works quite well.

The story is told through dream sequences, flashbacks, flash forwards, and through the hallucinations created by the invaders. The story can be difficult to follow because of this. There is a geat sequence where they come across the body of a priest and find his blood-soaked journal. Reading the journal becomes the only real exposition for the viewer, and it’s a really good scene.

In fact, the entire set up for the story takes place during the credit sequence in the form of a voice-over and quick shots of carnage, then straight into blood and guts and good stuff in under three minutes.

Speaking of blood-soaked, the film doesn’t waste any time at all getting to the gore. The zombie warriors are quite gruesome, but the rest of the effects use a lot of quick cuts and zip/pans so you don’t get a real good look at a lot of it. Overall, though, even those quick looks are pretty fun.

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The score by James Sizemore(look him up…his career credits are seriously impressive) is almost undetectable at first. In fact, most of the movie has no background music at all. Mr. Sizemore uses silence just as well as he uses sound. Sporadically, pensive classical strings will appear then vanish just as quickly. By the time I was aware that the music was there, it was gone again.

There is some really creative stuff going on in this film. There’s something about it that I really liked, although I can’t quite put my finger on what that is. The overall effect of the production is worth the time it takes to watch it.

So on a scale of one to ten, ten being awesome, I’m giving this film 7 zombies.

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