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Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2021: ‘Last Survivors’ review

A sheltered young man ventures out into the world and discovers that things are different to what he expected.

Last Survivors
Credit: Vertical Entertainment

Jake (Drew Van Acker) and Troy (Stephen Moyer) have been living off the grid for 20 years. Having grown up with only his father to interact with, Jake is fearful of the outside world believing that every outsider he comes across will try to kill him. When Troy is injured, Jake has to venture out into the world to find medicine and he meets Henrietta (Alicia Silverstone), an older woman who lives alone in the middle of nowhere. As Jake becomes drawn to Henrietta, he starts to question the life he’s always known and begins to fear his father may not have been acting in his best interests.

‘Last Survivors’ is the latest film from Drew Mylrea (‘Spy Intervention’) and it’s a tense drama that comments on the state of the world, and what it can drive people to do. We’re introduced to Jake who has been taught to constantly be ready to kill by his father Troy, who is paranoid that everyone is out to get them. With little understanding of the world, aside from what his father has been telling him, Jake’s eyes are opened when he ventures beyond the perimeter of the ‘safe area’ and into the home of Henrietta. At first he is fearful of her, believing she has an ulterior motive and is a threat, but soon Jake starts to soften as he gets closer to Henrietta.

Last Survivors
Credit: Vertical Entertainment

The first half of ‘Last Survivors’ is the epitome of a slow burn. Nothing much is explained and honestly, I did struggle a little bit in places as I waited for something to happen. Around the half way mark, the film does pick up pace and it finds its footing as the viewer, and Jake, begin to realise that what’s going on may not be what was first presented. It’s hard to say more than that really as I don’t want to spoil the plot of the film or give away anything more than I already have.

Tonally the film sits somewhere between drama and thriller. It never really veers into horror (although you could argue that it is an impressive dissection of the horrors of human behaviour) but there is an emotional through-line that should keep you invested. With such a small cast the weight of the film is on the shoulders of the three leads, and thankfully they all turn in very strong performances.

Last Survivors
Credit: Vertical Entertainment

Stephen Moyer, best-known for ‘True Blood’, is always reliable and it’s nice to see Alicia Silverstone getting a role with a bit of meat to it. The real revelation here though is Drew Van Acker, who will be familiar to anyone who watched the addictive teen drama ‘Pretty Little Liars’. Since that show ended, I’ve been rooting for Van Acker to really be able to show his potential as an actor and he gets very close here. As Jake, Van Acker gives the audience someone to root for and his performance is more nuanced than you might expect. He gets to run through a gamut of emotions, and he is very believable.

‘Last Survivors’ isn’t a perfect film but there’s plenty to enjoy about it. The second half is stronger than the first, and the three leads ensure that you watch it until the very end. I found the resolution incredibly satisfying but the one thing I walked away from this movie thinking about was Drew Van Acker. Hopefully after this he’ll start to get taken more seriously as an actor and he deserves to go on to even bigger things.

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Cast: Drew Van Acker, Alicia Silverstone, Stephen Moyer, Mark Famiglietti Director: Drew Mylrea Writer: Josh Janowicz Certificate: 18 Duration: 98 mins Released by: Vertical Entertainment

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