Director – Glenn Triggs
Starring – Jane Elizabeth Barry, David Macrae, Geoff Pinfield, Zoe Imms
Run Time – 85 minutes
Release Date – July 28th by Monster Pictures UK
Independent documentary makers Jodie (Barry) and Kevin (Pinfield) encounter a homeless drunk while filming an alcoholics anonymous-type meeting. He reveals there is a cult in the outback nearby, which greatly intrigues the two film-makers. Jodie and Kevin manage to get in touch with this cult and are eventually invited to travel into the outback and film their secluded way of life. Once there the duo discover the cult is led by an elderly, soft-spoken man named Michael (Macrae). His followers are all female, young and old, with no other men. They dress the same and all admiringly stare at Michael whenever he is around them. They live in a wooden cabin without any technology, they are self sufficient too.
Jodie and Kevin film the women and talk more to Michael when it emerges that Michael has been told by God about the end of the world. In order to save themselves the women killed all the men of the group, allowing their spirits to go onto the afterlife and ‘prepare’ it for the rest of the cult. The women will kill themselves at a later date. It appears Michael is sexually involved with all the women, even a girl as young as 7 years old named Gray (Imms). Jodie and Kevin begin to regret going to the cults isolated home as they think that maybe this is a matter for the police.
A found footage/crazy cult movie that is quite sedate. Apocalyptic is a slow-burner, that allows the discomfort the cults leader creates to make horror in what is hinted at.
The character of Michael is the most intriguing of the cast. David Macrae (who will be in the directors next movie – 41) gives a brilliant performance with his kindly sounding voice and at-ease demeanour. He never plays his role as a deluded man but as someone who thinks he genuinely is going to save the group of women from the end of the world. These people in real life, say Jim Jones, never think they are deluded so Macrae never knowingly goes for that performance. Michael comes across more as a nice uncle than a nutter.
Of course there is a tricky element of the plot revolving around Gray. When Jodie and Kevin become concerned about her having sex with Michael the pair debate if they should leave. Jodie rightly states she won’t leave as she wants to make sure she can take the girl with them but Kevin just wants to bolt and talk to the police. This plot development creates friction between the friends as they try to convince each other to do what they want. It only worsens when Michael detects the tension and tries to manipulate it in true Charles Manson fashion.
There is a sub-plot when Kevin seemingly falls for the demure charms of a young lady in the group called Neve (Nalini Vasudevan). A couple of instances of the two passing coy looks at each other are caught on camera that then leads to a talk alone in the woods. But it develops too quickly after this as it seems Kevin has fallen for her and his actions don’t seem believable for a man who only just knows her. Or has the young Neve developed some of Michael’s special ‘people skills’ that manipulate Kevin?
Some may be left feeling underwhelmed by the plotting and dialogue heavy nature of the plot. It does have some gore towards the end, although that may give away too much. There is one scene very violent scene that might shock some who aren’t expecting it.
As well as a trailer and commentary there is a very insightful Making of/Behind the scenes feature. 36 minutes long it has cast and crew of Apocalyptic talk about how they got involved with the picture plus includes audition footage of several cast members.
Apocalyptic is a slow, brooding and at times creepy Australian flick that will be loved by those that want more psychological scares from a movie.
7 out of 10.