Age Of The Dead (2015)

Survival is all that is left

Writer: Francesco Picone
Director: Francesco Picone

Five Stars

Age Of The Dead (aka Anger Of The Dead) starts off as a fairly standard zombie apocalypse story. Pregnant Alice (Roberta Sparta) is at home with her Cute Kid. In the background there are news stories about demonstrations against the lack of jobs and we also hear discussions about social dissent having reached dangerous levels. All this sets an allegorical background in standard Romero style.

Then Alice gets a phone call from her husband warming her that Bad Stuff is going on… The house is promptly invaded by cannibalistic zombies.

After which we shift forward some months to post-apocalypse territory. Except than now it’s not Alice we see but another woman who is chained up, abused and experimented on. At this point it becomes clear that Age of the Dead isn’t a ‘by the numbers’ story as it heads off into a completely different direction to the one I was expecting.

We do return to Alice, who is the main character. Her story runs parallel to that of the prisoner (Desiree Giorgetti), who we learn is being held by a group of survivors at a place called The Refuge. When the prisoner escapes she is hunted by a group led by Rooker (Aaron Stielastra) who is not a nice man.

There are, of course, zombies in this film and I liked the make up effects. However in many ways the zombies are a sideline – it’s the people that are the worst threat. Age of the Dead is a very dark film and it pulls no punches from beginning to end. It’s also cleverly written – the script wrong-footed me on a number of occasions. Although it’s nasty the film doesn’t have much in the way of gratuitous gore – violence, yes, but not gore.

Acting is decent enough with all three main characters being very powerful. Stielastra in particular just oozes unpleasant menace, perhaps too much for some tastes. Sparta and Giorgetti both portray women who are very strong in their different ways.

The direction relied too much for my taste on the use of quick cuts and slow frame rate for the early sequences, but this irritation died away as the film progressed. The music by Gabriele Casell is nicely atmospheric and melancholy.

I’m at a loss to understand the hate for this film and the low IMDB rating – I really enjoyed it. Maybe that’s just because I have a preference for the dark side of humanity over endless shots of zombies ripping out their victims’ guts.

If you’re looking for a typical zombie horde movie then this won’t be for you. But if you enjoy a smart script where people are worse than the monsters then ignore the IMDB rating and give Age Of The Dead a try.