In a post-apocalyptic world, where weaponised nanites have wiped out most of humanity, a young boy, Sonny (Caleb Liban in his first feature performance), teams up with a lone woman, Emma (Danielle Prall, Paralyzed with Fear, 2019), to look for Emma’s lost daughter.
As has become standard with apocalypses; the majority of the threats the duo face, come not from the cause of the destruction, but from the immoral humans that roam the countryside, preying on the weak.
Emma and Sonny make the typical ‘odd couple’ pairing; initially suspicious of each other but eventually coming together in their trek across the wilderness as they face ever increasing dangers together.
Nearly four years in the making, ‘A Feral World’ is the feature length adaptation of Director, David Liban’s short ‘Feral’ (2016). The additional footage has clearly been filmed over the intervening years, as and when more money became available. Discrepancies in the age of the characters, particularly Sonny, who grows up a lot over the films 104 minute run time, are cleverly dealt with by intermittent chapter headings that progress the timeline of events.
The film itself is very much a mixed bag for a low budget passion project. The performances of the main cast are well above par and believable throughout. Character development is key here and even minor characters seem well fleshed out with a back story and character development, which does a good job of investing the viewer in their fate.
The special effects are a bit ropey for a modern title, but with a little suspension of belief they do the job.
Due to the segmented nature of the film, it does at times; feel like short episodes of a TV series that have been cobbled together. Similar to how the BBC edited Blake’s 7 into 90 minute TV movies for sale to American audiences.
The other drawback of the segment structure is that, inevitably, some are more entertaining than others. The first and third are good, but the second and fourth seem to drag somewhat. In addition, each has its own narrative and so there is little build up of real tension. As a result, when the final showdown finally arrives it seems a bit anticlimactic.
As a whole the film seems like a missed opportunity, a good cast and premise that don’t really meet their potential due to budget and filming constraints. I only hope this showcase is enough to convince someone to fund the Director into a bigger budget adaptation.