A zombie-like virus has plagued Africa and it is up to an American and three others to survive in this South African exclusive from Shudder.
Waking up in a hospital for what was to be a routine appendectomy, Henry Williamson has learned that his surgery has been delayed due to a shortage of staff. When he is finally approved to have the surgery, he finds himself drugged up and paralyzed. However, when he hears strange noises in the hospital, he attempts to find out what’s wrong. He soon discovers that the hospital has been ravaged due in part to a new virus that has given its victims zombie-rage like symptoms. With the help of nurse Sunet, and fellow workers Siseko and Vincent, the four are able to barely escape.
Henry learns that there are possible ways to make a safe escape to freedom from the zombie-like horde. As he learns his girlfriend Laurien has been invited to go on a cargo ship, she dumps Henry to keep herself in survival. As the group make their way through the countryside, Henry at first is discovered to have lied to the group about them being able to escape on a ship. Soon, Henry has a change of heart and decides he can’t leave anyone behind and find anything with supplies until they are able to find a way out to be rescued from the hell that awaits them.
South Africa has done various types of films over the years, from martial arts action to supernatural horror. However, this has been marketed as their first foray into the zombie film. Written and directed by Howard James Fyvie, the film doesn’t offer anything fresh or new, but it’s the fact that this is the country’s first zombie film is good enough, even with a running time of just 76 minutes.
Greg Kriek, considered one of the most celebrated actors in South Africa today and co-produced the film with Fyvie, offers an interesting performance as Henry, our protagonist. With a slight resemblance to Casper Van Dien, Kriek plays a skeptical and at times, arrogant American who finds himself in the hospital for the first act only to show his selfish nature even when it makes more sense for people to work together during a zombie-like outbreak. However, this soon becomes a case of the moral compass getting the best of him and he eventually helps the fellow survivors try to get to a safe place.
Christia Visser gives excellent support as Sunet, a nurse who bonds with Henry from the moment she offers to take care of him while he has his surgery to performing an impromptu appendectomy in an abandoned warehouse as they escape the zombie brigade. Tshamano Sebe and Vukile Zuma are also great as hospital workers Siseko and Vincent along with Mfihlakalo Mazwembe as Ayanda, who joins the group later in the film.
What could be interesting here is that while many will be used to zombie films having loads of blood and gore, that factor is played to a minimum here. In addition, there aren’t as many zombies as one would expect in this genre, but in some ways, one as to think about budget, time, and to make up for the lack of zombies, the one who do show up get to move fast and on the level of a Train to Busan rather than those of the Romero flicks and The Walking Dead. The ending does bring a sense of predictability but still shows the moral compass of someone who starts out selfish, but ultimately realizes that they must work together to survive.
Last Ones Out may be South Africa’s first zombie film and it may have nothing new in terms of a plot, but there are little nuances that changes the game between this and most zombie films. The cast makes the most of what they work with and overall, it’s a middle of the road film.
WFG RATING: C
RLJE Films and Shudder present a Fyvie Film production. Director: Howard James Fyvie. Producers: Howard James Fyvie and Greg Kriek. Writer: Howard James Fyvie. Cinematography: Timmy Henny. Editing: Howard James Fyvie.
Cast: Greg Kriek, Christia Visser, Tshamano Sebe, Vukile Zuma, Mfhlakalo Mazwembe, Jack Hine.