FTP: What We Become (2015)

FEBRUARY 28, 2019


Since I started "From The Pile" I started going through emails to see if I could figure out when it arrived, because I'm kind of curious which disc has been sitting there the longest waiting for me to get around to watching it. What We Become is from fall of 2016, which (sadly) isn't even close to the oldest, but what's interesting is that the longer I waited, the better the movie came off. Had I watched it then, I'd be pretty bored, because at that time I had only recently given up on Fear the Walking Dead and the film is basically built around the same basic idea: How does a family (as opposed to the usual motley group) react to a zombie outbreak as it occurs?

But now it's been a few years since I saw anything like that, so I was more or less engaged by it even if it wasn't doing a single thing I hadn't seen before. To be fair, it's apparently Denmark's first ever zombie movie (!) so maybe they weren't privy to all these other movies/shows we have access to, but it's hard to try to keep that in mind as you watch - we gotta meet halfway on these things. Even things like "if you get bit you turn" come off like things that need to be explained (at one point it's practically presented as a twist), which I thought we were long past by now. The actors are good and the characters are realistic, but they're hamstrung by the script's insistence on treating their scenario as wholly unique.

Worse, its most interesting element keeps getting sidelined; the father of the family unit is having trouble connecting with his teenaged son, and tries to shield him from the reality of what's going on the same he is doing for his much younger daughter - it's like a "I don't want my little boy to grow up" taken to the worst extreme. But with an overabundance of neighbor characters who eventually shack up with them and focus on someone we know is a goner from the stupid flash-forward opening (I know it's a four year old movie, but for what it's worth: STOP DOING THESE!) this intriguing and somewhat touching plot strand is largely discarded as the zombie hordes get harder to control. The two characters never even have much of a final scene together, making the early parts showing their strained relationship kind of a waste, ultimately.

In fact the film as a whole is better when the zombie thing is still largely unknown. The little teases we get in the first half hour or so are pretty great: people getting sick, a car accident that the police don't even stop for because there's a bigger emergency elsewhere, etc. And there's some minor "zombie procedural" elements that I enjoyed seeing, like how the military folks have to come by and retrieve waste and resupply people with water/food, shown as an annoyance akin to having to move your car for a snowplow or something. But once the outbreak gets to traditional ZOMBIE MOVIE! proportions, it's the same old stuff we've seen a bunch of times, though thankfully the focus remains on the family (and their neighbors) with minimal intrusion from the military types or "evil humans". Indeed, the father ends up being the "villain" at one point, when he resorts to holding a gun on a woman who is after the same supplies he is.

If they made this more about the dad and the extremes he went to in order to protect his family (and maybe patch things up with his son) this could have been more interesting, but alas it misses that "must-see" mark and settles for being just another zombie flick, of use mainly to those who can never get their fill of such things. For everyone else, it's pretty good, but your excitement will depend on how long it had been since you watched something like this, I suspect.

What say you?

P.S. If you have epilepsy or other issues with strobing lights, please be warned that the title at the top (which is repeated at the end, for some reason) is presented in a full screen flashing letter format (think Enter the Void). There's nothing like that in the film itself, and it suggests something more extreme than the narrative actually offers, so I have no idea what they were thinking. Just wanted to do my part in warning folks - the disc packaging really should be doing that for us.


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