Love Bites: ‘Final Days’ is a Zombie Film with a Romantic Core

Final Days opens on a stylish but minimal apartment, in a post-party haze. We are introduced to Aidan, played by Teen Wolf’s Tyler Posey, who apparently has a deadly allergy to wearing shirts. He wakes up after what is implied to have been a heavy night, only to step out onto his balcony and discover that, thanks to a zombie plague, the end could well be nigh. Pretty soon, he’s holed up in his apartment, growing a beard and waiting to run out of food. Only the discovery that he has a neighbour among the living (Summer Spiro) can reinvigorate him, and fill him with thoughts of rescue.

Final Days enjoys a slightly complicated relationship with Korean thriller #Alive. It’s technically a remake of that title, although #Alive was an adaptation of a story written by Matt Naylor, who also penned the script for Final Days. Though neither film is particularly innovative, #Alive hinted at a subtext about the emptiness of a life lived only in online spaces. It painted its protagonist as an internet inhabitant even before the zombie apocalypse shrank his world to the four walls of his apartment. Aidan, on the other hand, doesn’t have much of a character to speak of at all.

Even though we spend a great deal of the first half of the film with him in his apartment, we learn very little about him. Even less fleshed out is his love interest Eva, who seems only to exist to fulfill her role in the plot. It quickly becomes obvious that, rather than being a relatable pair of individuals, the couple are meant to be symbols – Aidan and Eva, the last two humans.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t make for the most compelling script. A shallow character yearning after a blank slate in the apartment opposite isn’t the Romeo and Juliet of our time. That said, Tyler Posey does what he can with the patchy script. He’s a charismatic presence, but he’s also a good physical performer. Sprinting, jumping, stumbling and flailing around the apartment complex, he lends the dry story an engaging, frenetic energy.

The whole film is quite a bloodless affair, possibly so as not to put off the younger audience for whom a star like Posey would be a draw. At times, this can rob the zombies of their sense of peril, as characters seem to be able to shunt them aside with little risk of being bitten. However, director Johnny Martin has a background in stunt direction, and it shows. Whether it’s a parkour zombie climbing balconies towards a helpless victim or a frantic corridor chase full of near misses, these occasional bursts of action are the film’s main selling points.

Donald Sutherland is unsurprisingly strong as a kindly widower and fellow survivor who turns up at the halfway point. Unfortunately, his character is such a zombie movie archetype at this point that you’ve probably guessed his plot trajectory just from that one sentence.

Taken altogether, Last Days is a toothless remix of well-worn zombie tropes. With some strong performances and the occasional good action sequence, its main failings are its flat, underdeveloped characters. At a time when many viewers will be more than familiar with the feelings of isolation and suffocating apartment living, they may still struggle to relate to this bloodless tale.

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