An all around wonderful film. Great story, awesome visuals, crisp audio, skillfully acted. This one is a film you should see.
Today’s film is the 2014 action thriller Aftermath written and directed by Jeremy Robbins and starring Noah Robbins, Will Rogers, Jessica Lauren-Howell, Nathan Milette and Ryan Micheal Jones. It is currently in the drawing for the winter 2017 Fandepedent Fan Choice award.
Aftermath is a dark tale set in a near feature where the aftermath of a new Ice Age has taken place. The story focuses on Cody (Will Rogers) and his younger brother Jem (Noah Robbins) as they try to survive in this harsh frozen world. Jem wants things to be how they were and still acts like the snot nosed Teenager he is but Cody knows the harsh reality of their world and wishes he would grow up and take their hard life seriously. The weather is only part of their troubles however as roving bands of scavengers are always looking for easy prey. Cody and Jem are forced to abandon their semi safe fortifications as a large band descends upon them, with only what they could carry the brothers must find a safe haven before the weather and the rovers finally end their long suffering. On the way Jem and Cody try to fix their strained relationship by teaching each other a lesson in survival, with Jem showing Cody that it isn’t all bleak and teenage rebellion and Cody showing Jem what it will take to survive.
Right off the bat let me just say this was hands down one of the best post apocalyptic survival movies I have seen in a long time. Taking on elements of such great films as The Edge and the Mad Max series Aftermath manages to bring something special to a genre overloaded with cliché and mediocre films. The story written by Jeremy Robbins really sets itself apart from the pack, even though the concept has been done before, by adding just enough of a plot twist to really hook the viewer and by breathing such life into the two main characters that you are instantly invested in their survival. The Story in any survival film really must sell itself to the viewer when it is grounded in reality. With something like a Zombie Apocalypse you must have a healthy suspension of disbelief to allow yourself to enjoy the dangers of that fictions world but a new Ice Age however is something that could very well happen and requires a director to really step up his or her game to make the audience feel like they could be in that situation, Aftermath does that in spades. This is in no small way thanks to the outstanding performances by Will Rogers and Noah Robbins.
Will Rogers brings the elder brother Cody to life with such passion and nuance that you can really feel each agonizing decision he must make throughout the course of the film. In many short films characters barely have a personality at all but the character of Cody not only has a full range of emotional depth but the feeling of paternal responsibility he feels toward Jem is abundantly evident. On the subject of Jem Noah Robbins is easily just as stellar as Rogers in his flawless execution of his character. Jem is a perfect representation of a rebellious youth wanting to cling to normalcy while being deeply devoted to his older brother. These two’s onscreen chemistry rivals that of any A list Hollywood actor I have seen in the past five to ten years and really bring these two wonderful characters to life in a meaningful and believable way.
The props used in Aftermath are really a key point of the film. Each of weapons in the film are modeled perfectly after their real life counterparts and even more impressive is the actors actually seem to know what to do with them. In quite a few movies weather they are independent films or massive blockbusters backed by huge production houses guns always seem to be the Achilles heel of the project. I have seen films where the Hero prop (Industry term for the best made weapon used for close ups) is so comically and unintentionally hokey that it just shatters the immersion into the film but Aftermath really went the extra mile to keep you focused on what was important in the film.
The production quality of Aftermath is one of the best I have seen so far. The cinematography is absolutely wonderful with it’s crisp and clear picture and the skilled way the operator positions the cameras for the best shots possible. Each scene is painstakingly worked to bring a mix of epic sweeping shots to claustrophobia inducing tight in shots that make you feel every bit as alone and scared as the characters themselves. There are no shaky cam effects or blurred picture resolution in the very dark scenes of the film that are all to common in other productions, this really speaks well of the dedication and care that went into the making of this film.
The audio work of Aftermath is just as good as the visual department. The characters are always heard perfectly bringing the wonderful dialog to your ears in a smooth and professional way. There are no artifacts, no pitch dropping or static at all throughout the entire film and the musical score really ups the bar for would be film makers. The music is theme appropriate with it’s melancholy moments in their brief downtime to heart pumping and energizing tunes when they are on the run. Truly a wonderful representation of a skilled director of sound and over all staff of the entire film.
When all is said and done Aftermath is a refreshing take on the survival action genre and really brings life back into what has become a stale section of the film industry. From the wonderfully written story and the outstanding acting that brings it to life to the incredibly high end production value of the film Aftermath is a true gem of a film. If you like survival action thrillers then at just under twenty minutes this 2014 epic is just what you have been looking for.