Doug Roos, director and writer brings a completely independent and fresh new take on a post apocalyptic world with The Sky Has Fallen, his screenplay delivers a gore filled, action packed story of an avian-based outbreak centered on supernatural suspenseful creatures. Doug’s vision exposes his intended vision of gunfights, swordplay, zombies, and supernatural demons competing with outbreaks, effective scares and disgusting possessions, awhile wiping out a majority of Earth’s inhabitants hence adding levels of complexity into his film. However, instead of blogging down in the details of how this post-world creation happens, he focuses on the individual is their lives, social well-being, and motivation to continue onward against bleak odds. An approach similar to George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead , where the talk of the reasoning why the dead arose, lies muddled, and instead takes the isolationism and conflicting personalities in the house as the baseline for the creating a scary story.
This independent project lacked wide-angle shots, which normally establishes a scene, such as the vastness of uncharted landscape used in Dances with Wolves (1990) and then to the other extreme in the film Mad Max (1979), showing desolate land and an isolated base of refugees defending itself against the mutant brigade. Instead, the close-up shots implementation brings the audience into the intimacy of the virus, the tight confines of the survivors, having their privacy and personal space invade and causing increased stress and allowing for more effective scares. Lance and Rachel (Carey MacLaren and Laurel Kemper) stand as the last principal characters in his film, to battle the virus and the supernatural zombie creatures, and most importantly their leader. Doug obviously shows his influence early in the twenty-five day shoot, of liking South Korean cinema such as A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) and other Japanese films, especially when involving his skillful fancy dance swordplay scenes and exploring the lost fighting tactics and techniques of the samurai for audiences to enjoy.
Carey and Laurel take a heavily dialogue screenplay upon their equally capable shoulders allowing the characters to discover and explore a more intimate path in a world quickly becoming absent of other individuals. Their characters restrain their back-stories only expressing them along with inner thoughts after confrontational scenes involving their enemies, opening old wounds, and deep dark secrets. As with most zombie films a mere mention of spiritual and religion becomes more of a prerequisite in the films today, as the creature is a peek into the afterlife that some aspire to find and others ignore, but ignorance in a horror film usually becomes one’s death trap. Especially when one of the characters happens to find themselves on a classic revenge mission, motivated not by love but rather a guilty factor, which often has its own spiritual foothold and deadly consequences. Doug’s painstaking and fearless editing in post-production, packs in the powerful and thought provoking dialogue sequences awakening the audience’s mindset to question moralities of life and death swirling around human nature and sin itself. The special effects for the productions truly excel past all expectations, with many real squibs and over 50 zombie creature effects, majority of practical effects, and then usage of design memorable looking zombies yet showing both beauty and horror in the scenes.
For the horror fans seeking instant gratification from another independent zombie apocalypse movie, you need search elsewhere, for this from changes the storyline from the original concept in 1968 and moves to a more sinister experimental crossbreeding the sub-genres of demonic entities and zombies, after all zombies likely root themselves in hellish creatures rather than the supposedly heavenly saintly beings. Therefore, locate this well received film, which highlighted the festival circuit for a while, winning awards and bridging a new path in the zombie genre.
This review was originally published in August 2014 on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website.
IMDb Rating: 6.0/10
Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10