The Last Days

Film4 Frightfest 2013

 

With the rise of WiFi for Laptops plus tablets and smartphones, outdoor browsing has become much more common – chances are a proportion of you are reading this outside now. But what if you couldn’t go outside at all?

In The Last Days (aka Los Ultimos Dias) the world has been hit by a pandemic that not only makes everyone terrified of the wide outdoors, but to a level that kills them if they try. Trapped in his place of work, Marc (Quim Gutiérrez – stop giggling, you) must somehow get across Barcelona to find girlfriend Julia (Marta Etura), but avoiding exposure is far from his only challenge…

Made by brothers David and Àlex Pastor (Carriers) for around EUR5m – approx $7m – the striking visuals are immediately impressive and give a great sense of scale. Helped by the architecture of Barcelona itself, the imagery of a city where noone outside allows nature to take hold is equal to that of a banner Hollywood disaster/apocalypse movie, and is backed up by solid acting and a tight script. Also laudable is a good use of tension, with one scene in a church standing out – it doesn’t get quite unbearable, but certainly gives paws!

On the negative side, there are a couple of moments where coincidence or survival is more due to The Power Of Plot than anything else, and the ending won’t be to all tastes. But these are pretty minor quibbles as The Last Days stands out as an intelligent thriller with an edge of originality and a great look, and one of the bests of its type in recent years. ****

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