Extinction:The G.M.O. Chronicles (2011) - In the beginning of this film we see a survivor or the human apocalypse, Tom Keller (Daniel Buder) as he speaks into his computer camera filling us in on the world as it stands. A genetic plant mutation experiment gone wrong has laid waste to the earth's population. It has mutated and infected humans making them in effect plant zombies of different kinds. Walkers, Runners, Climbers, Puffers, Screamers each type with there own traits but as they are introduced in the film they are further developments, evolution of the plant virus, as it tries to mutate itself into a more efficient way to spread. Ultimately this is a story of the survivors, starting with Tom and his struggle to want to survive in a world where human kind is close to wiped out and the plant mutants are developing in ways to finalize the death of all remaining people. A former special forces soldier Tom sets up camp in an old military base with tall fences and a watch tower. He wonders whether or not he should commit suicide but when he meets other people his attitude changes.
I wanted this film to be better than it was, and really it had a neat little take on the zombie apocalypse. Problem is really a mess structurally with very little to make of a main story the film meanders through different characters. Each with new set of survivors have a set of goals but in the end it is all just a journey without a proper ending. The first act focuses on Tom and then a group he meets consisting of Lisa (Luise Bahr), her father Bill (Jerry Coyle) and her boyfriend Martin (Klaus Ebert). They all take up residence in the military base and go about life as it is. Lisa is looking at what life will be after the end. How to make the military base a home. She is written as a bit depressed and on the edge of holding it together. Martin the jealous boyfriend has an adolescent response to the more competent Tom. This plays out in a really clunky way and drives the pacing of the film to an almost halt. We also explore the secrets Bill holds, as a NSA operative. Using the satellite phone Tom has he makes contact with his government friends and learns of a bunker where they all can take shelter. At first he holds his cards close to the vest but when caught on the phone comes clean quickly. The arrival of a few more people Zara (Bina Milas), Luke (Lee Rychter), and brothers Max (Tobias Kay) and David (Christain Stock) into the group sets the stage for the next act.
The second part of the film is all the characters getting to know one another. Fighting with each other and the daily struggle to live in this new world filled with danger. Mostly though not tons happens except some very boring motions, The film really loses all its forward momentum that was gained in getting the world defined and the characters together.
The third act has to do with motivating the characters into moving out of the safety of the military base. It starts with introducing new plant zombies that can climb the fences easily and move at night. Then attacks by these new zombies and the death of characters on the base force the hand of the group. They head out in two vehicles for the bunker beneath a damn nearby. We again have a character introduced with yet another new idea. Peter Bishop (Heinrich Baumgartner) is a scientist who think with the right equipment can come up with a solution for the zombies. He is instructed to meet the group at the bunker. Introduced at this time is the idea that the nuclear power plants are melting down. I said this story meanders and again we are not sure what the main story is. we are just following these people around and wondering if the scientist is now the main story and a cure or a herbicide will be invented. Still even though the film has some character development it is missing a clear protagonist, it should be Tom's struggle with the idea of being a leader. We get some background of how he failed in the military on a mission leaving him without the backbone to lead.
Even this does not end up being the main push for the story as they get to the bunker but the people inside refuse to let them in. The learn from the radiation sickened Peter that no one is safe in this area because of the nuclear power plants. They decide to head south and again find a new place to rest. A castle with a religious minister and followers. Again the movie grinds to a halt with yet another story line. This time Zara a medical student is asked to learn everything she can from Peter about a cure prior to his death by radiation poisoning. Ugh! Even though this down time comes in for the story line the group knows they still have to keep moving south away from civilization. The zombies again attack and the castle is over run leaving the final group of survivors, Lisa Bill, Tom, Zara, David and a couple others head off on the road. A voice over leaves the film in the "I don't know what is in front of us, but we will do it together" kind of message.
Now I am sure there are those reading this thinking that it sounds like this film has something to offer. Let me assure you that the main thing it has for you is frustration. It just jumps from "this happens" to "Then that happens" with no clear story to follow other than these mostly boring characters are living together.The action scenes are not well done and the makeup although competent is supplemented with some horrible low budget CGI. The idea of super fast evolution of the zombie plant people is a weak idea since evolution does not work that way. The film implies that the need to spread the virus causes the mutations that create the new kinds of zombies. Problem is these changes are only geared towards getting humans and since the absence of humans to infect is not a pressure it does not make sense that the mutations would develop to seek out the uninfected. You would think the mutations would be to infect what is around the xombies not what is not. So in the end there are just too many problems to recommend this movie.