Certificate – 15
Directed By – Oliver Milburn
Starring – Oscar Kennedy, Liam Lau Fernandez, Samantha Bond, Jasmine Blackborow, Alex McQueen, Steve Oram, Anthony Head.
Running Time – 105 Minutes (1 Hour 45 Minutes)
You’ve got to feel for writer/director Oliver Milburn having adapted the first of Scott K. Andrew’s Afterblight Chronicles novels, School’s Out Forever. As the story is close to heart under a current pandemic, but this shouldn’t stop you from seeing this brilliant British sci-fi thriller.
When 15-year-old Lee Keegan (Kennedy) is expelled from the posh boys school, St. Marks an apocalyptic event wipes out most of the world with the only survivors being a certain blood type. With his father dead and mother trapped abroad, Lee is given one instruction, go back to school.
However, under the school’s high walls, safety and security aren’t enough when threatened by a local parish council militia, under marshal law, arrive at the school gates. Meanwhile, inside the school is no better for Lee as the world events change his best friend Mac (Fernandez) and an unrequited crush on the school nurse (Blackborow).
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect only seeing the trailer suggested a comedic/horror possibly along the lines of the fantastic, Ready or Not. This was not the case; as it’s more Lord of the Flies with posh pricks.
Milburn does a wonderful job with the script as the film transforms over the runtime from a Shaun of the Dead vibe to becoming more sinister with the violence and horror, if you loved Ready or Not then you’ll enjoy this.
The film does have it witter moments, just more dark humour, but Milburn never fulls into cliché or cheap laughs.
It does a great job of keeping you on your toes killing off both likeable and unlikeable characters and even the sad moment of the school pet, but under the circumstances it’s not a John Wick “kill those bastards” emotion.
The cast does a decent job balancing both up and comers, led by Kennedy, who grows into its headmaster’s (Head) image, and veterans in Head and Bond. It’s Fernandez who has the most interesting arc and delivers a star performance.
Additionally, Blackborow is the film’s guiding light and soul, getting involved in the action, more so then Lee. All three of these actors have wonderful careers ahead of them and can’t wait to see them do more.
The same goes for Milburn as the movie brilliantly written and directed superbly with the use of colours and action scenes are well handled. Two moments imparticular, the first at the beginning of the big battle and the other a reshoot (I think) at the start of the movie that’s handle much better then what Joss Wheldon did in Justice League.
A brilliant sci-fi thriller with cracking performances and direction.