When we watch zombie films we rarely consider what life would be like for the supposed survivors of a zombie apocalypse weeks, months, years after. When life which was once normal turns into a daily game of managing your mental stability and personal relationships with those left around you while also trying not to become one of the undead. Argentinian film, What’s Left of Us decides to shift the focus and shine a light on the living.
Directed by Christoph Behl, What’s Left of Us (formerly El Desierto) follows three people, who are seemingly the last few survivors in the zombie apocalypse, living in a fortified house where they’ve set routines and rules to co-exist. A house where Ana (Victoria Almeida), Axel (Lautaro Delgado), and Jonathan (William Prociuk) start to feel the effects of an awkward love triangle and their mental decline while grasping tightly to their memories of their past lives.
The first thing I will tell you before you watch this “zombie” film is don’t expect any zombies. The very few (I think two) you do see don’t look like your typical zombies, either. This might be an issue for someone going into this thinking it’s a horror film, which it most assuredly is not- at least not in the typical sense. Instead, What’s Left of Us focuses on the horrors of living a day-to-day life when you’re one of the only people left alive. It’s a drama film with a horror-themed background.
It boasts a simple story with an even simpler script that seems to rely on atmosphere to get its story across to the viewer. It’s a very slow build as we’re thrown into these three peoples’ lives in the middle of some kind of interpersonal turmoil that they all have but aren’t communicative about until the last 15 min when it all comes to a head. The acting didn’t feel forced and you felt trapped in the small confines of the house right along with them.
That being said, if you’re looking for a straight-forward horror film, this isn’t the place to find it. If you want a very slow burn with relationship drama touting itself as a zombie film without zombies, then you’ve found your match. I, on the other hand, will just go watch Night of the Living Dead if I want my undead fix.
WHAT’S LEFT OF US is available now on DVD in the UK. It is directed by Christoph Behl and stars Victoria Almeida, Lautaro Delgado, Lucas Lagré and William Prociuk. It is being presented courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures.