Director: Tom Hammock
Starring: Haley Lu Richardson, Booboo Stewart, Max Charles, Michael Welch, Nicole Fox, Jon Gries
Genre: Action, Thriller
Age Rating: 15
Running Time: 95 minutes
THE LAST SURVIVORS (formally named THE WELL) sees debuting director Tom Hammock create a post-apocalyptic Oregon valley, where rain has been non-existent for the last 10 years and the survivors do whatever they can to scrape by. Incorporating his previous work on productions such as YOU’RE NEXT and THE GUEST, along with Sarah M. Pott’s production design, this film draws parallels with the likes of George Miller’s blockbuster franchise MAD MAX and shares similarities to the likes of THE BOOK OF ELI and THE HUNGER GAMES.
In a world full of greed and survival, seventeen-year-old Kendal (Haley Lu Richardson) spends her days protecting her ill brother Dean (Booboo Stewart) and the others she cherishes around her like Alby (Max Charles), whilst harbouring the remainder of water on their land, collecting batteries for a burned out plane for their planned escape, and helping any innocent souls she crosses paths with.
Notably this world is still full of evil and corruption and plagued by a greedy water baron named Carson (Jon Gries) and his ‘man of God’ approach, believing in the next “extinction of a species” and killing every remaining person so that he and his daughter Brooke (Nicole Fox) are the only ones left and nobody else is consuming “their” water.
With an incredibly powerful performance from the 20 year-old Haley Lu Richardson drawing the viewer in, with a combination of drama, resilience and ‘butt-kicking’ ability, and a solid supporting cast, including the likes of Max Charles and Booboo Stewart, the viewer becomes engrossed in this post-apocalyptic world.
The action throughout is thrilling. It was so refreshing to witness a scared and yet confident teenage girl, opposed to an angry and overly-confident middle-aged man, cast as the protagonist in this type of film, wielding a shotgun, axe and a samurai sword, at times screaming KILL BILL to the viewer!
Credit obviously has to be given to Hammock for a great deal of this enticing film, but it is cinematographer Seamus Tierney, along with editors Sarah Brosher and Adam Wingard, who also deserve a substantial level of appreciation for how they pieced this film together and created the ominous and realistic remains of ‘The Wallace Farm’.
As well as great production, editing and casting, the one aspect of this film which really stood out to me was the original score from Craig DeLeon. This gave the feature a deep and meaningful feeling, preventing it from appearing as another ‘Young Adult Adventure’, but instead drawing parallels with the soundtrack to THE BOOK OF ELI and more surprisingly the music of the PlayStation adventure series UNCHARTED.
Overall, THE LAST SURVIVORS is a dramatic and believable tale which will keep you engaged and entertained throughout. Haley Lu Richardson is phenomenal as Kendal and we can expect great things to come from her in the future. Definitely worth a watch!
“What’s the one thing they fear in a world without water..?”
DVD Special Features
Behind the Scenes: Great to see the scale of the set in this section of the Disc.
Hayley Lu Richardson Audition: Comes across as a wonderfully natural talent on and off-screen. Git was also great to witness an actresses’ reaction to being picked to be the lead in a film.
Deleted Scenes: Always a nice bonus!
- Kendal Trapped
- Kendal On The Run
Release Date (UK): Monday 11th May, 2015
Recommendation: If you’re a fan of Mad Max films or The Book of Eli – you will love this film! Great and mature performance from a 20 year-old newcomer!
Provided by Kaleidoscope Film Distribution
Originally written for Screen Relish. Thanks to them for the opportunity to write this piece!