Equal parts 28 Days Later and Quarantine, this could have been a great movie. The residents of a rundown little apartment building are forced into lockdown and have to fight for their lives as a virus sweeps through New York, turning man into killer. It’s worked before and maybe that’s this film’s problem – it’s been done, better, before.
Something is to be said for the characters in this movie. A lot of attention was paid to crafting individualized characters, so that we actually care about them a lot more than the generic cutouts in Quarantine (which was a better movie, so what does that say about the importance of characters?). The flip side of that coin, though, is that for the first half of the movie, nothing is really going on. We get to know the characters (who all seem to have too much hinted-at backstory) and follow them around. It makes us get to know them, but it’s also as boring as spending the day following any other random stranger around. A good job is actually done of building the looming dread through news stories on tv and side conversations, but it just goes on too long.
Once the action starts, the movie picks up. Director Jim Mickle does a good job of pacing and some scenes are incredible. Two men holed up in an apartment with the creatures just outside the door – and you’re really drawn in to their claustrophobic plight. Other parts are a bit too formulaic and obvious, though.
Overall, a disappointing effort from After Dark. But they’ve made it their mission to find promising new talent and there is definitely some of that in this film. Given a budget and a little more tweaking, this team has something to offer and so does the film. It’s worth checking out, just be prepared for a rehash of other movies that you already loved once.