Phase 7

Dir: Nicolas Goldbart
Star: Daniel Hendler, Jazmín Stuart, Yayo Guridi, Federico Luppi

After a trip to the supermarket, young couple Coco (Hendler) and his heavily-pregnant wife Pipi (Stuart) return to their Buenos Aires apartment, and watch TV news reports of a flu-like epidemic that's sweeping the world. After a suspected case breaks out in the building, the authorities quarantine the building, leaving the inhabitants inside to fend for themselves. Due to the supermarket trip, Coco and Pipi are initially unconcerned, but as time goes on and their supplies start to dwindle, tensions among the residents begin to rise. Coco teams up with doomsday prepper Horacio (Guridi), who believe the outbreak to be the result of government action. But it soon appears that Horacio's stock of sanity is significantly less than his stock of canned goods. The flu might not be the worst threat; then again, neither might Horacio. And what is going on in the outside world, which has apparently forgotten about the apartment complex and those who live in it.

After an initially interesting start, this runs out of ideas in the second half, and spends far too much showing Coco, Horacio and the others creeping around the darkened corridors of the building in their hazmat gear. Meanwhile, Pipi just sits in the apartment - not really her fault, being largely incapable of doing anything else, but it renders her character largely superfluous. The obvious high-concept is a cross between the [Rec]/Quarantine series and Shaun of the Dead (with just a smattering from Lord of the Flies), but it's so low-key, I kept wanting to check the film for a pulse. About the only moment to provoke a chuckle is when Horacio tries, repeatedly, to communicate with a baffled Coco through military hand-gestures. While this does well utilizing its low budget, particularly with an impressively exploded head, not only does Goldbart fail to work up enough energy to sustain interest, it seems he doesn't even bother to try.

[December 2012]

It's the end of the world as we know it...
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