WHAT’S LEFT OF US (2013)
aka El Desierto
Written and directed by Christoph Behl
Spanish language with English subtitles
Argentinian film WHAT’S LEFT OF US might be set during a zombie apocalypse but don’t expect any of the shuffling undead, exploding heads or gut-munching horror here. This film removes us from the action and thrusts us into the living arrangement and lives of three survivors and their slow mental unravelling as their love triangle relationship turns sour.
Lone female of the group Ana (Victoria Almeida) is the excitement and energy of the trio. She’s young at heart but also likes to mother the two men as well as play the housewife. Ana prefers structure so sets rules for the house to which they must all stick to to ensure a fair future inside the four walls. Jonathan (William Prociuk) is Ana’s lover. He seems rather outgoing and likes to get things done, as well as the voice of reason when Ana and Axel refuse to talk. Axel (Lautaro Delgado) is the moody, introverted member of the group who holds strong feelings for Ana but doesn’t let them show. Obsessed by the idea of tattooing his entire body with little marks resembling the flies which they are surrounded by in the blistering Argentinian heat, Axel promises that the day his body is fully inked he will leave the house for good.
WHAT’S LEFT OF US is quite a slow moving film that spends time assessing the relationship of the trio and their limited activities inside the house. Much like the survivors, we are trapped inside the house, forced to live out the duration of the movie with these three characters and feel their frustration at their situation. Tiny lies explode into something much bigger in this volatile environment with each of the three teetering on breaking point, their emotional sanity on the brink. What’s happening outside, of what we here of it, is not a problem any more for Ana, Jonathan and Axel. They’re accustomed to the fact that flesh-eating zombies are waiting for them at every turn. What they’re not dealing with very well is the emotional strains of being cooped up and having to live this life with only each other for company. Imagine being stuck with two strangers 24/7. It wouldn’t take long for the cracks to appear.
Despite not being a horror movie, Christoph Behl’s WHAT’S LEFT OF US offers up some interesting visuals powered by the buzz of the flies and the stench of the undead and gives the viewer an honest look into the stressed minds of humanity with nothing left. It’s quite an emotional piece at times and overal a refreshing take on the zombie genre.