Director: Carolina Hellsgård
Writer: Olivia Vieweg
Based on: her own graphic novel
Cast: Gro Swantje Kohlhof, Maja Lehrer, Trine Dyrholm, Barbara Philipp, Yûho Yamashita, Marco Albrecht
Part of: Toronto International Film Fesitval
Seen on: 7.9.2018
Germany has been infected by a virus that turned most of its population into zombies. There are only small pockets of humanity left in Weimar and in Jena. Vivi (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) and Eva (Maja Lehrer) are both in Weimar. They don’t really know each other and couldn’t be more different: Vivi seems barely equipped to survive a zombie world, she is so sensitive, while Eva is all toughness. But they both have the same goal: make it to Jena where they are working on a cure and find a better life there.
Endzeit sounds like exactly my kind of thing: a (German) zombie movie by and about women. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work for me, despite some very interesting takes and ideas.
Endzeit is part of a growing number of zombie things that ask the question: what if the (zombie) apocalypse isn’t actually bad? What if it’s a new beginning? In that sense it reminded me of Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts. Both of these left me very excited (especially the novels) and Endzeit did not. Maybe because both of the other stuff is so recent and work on the same idea(s), so Endzeit just didn’t feel all that novel anymore.
But I think it’s not just that. The pacing of the film was also off for me – it was too slow and then at times, it jumped too far to move the story along. At times, it also drifted off into cliché territory too much, especially when it came to the characterization of Vivi and Eva.
That the characters felt so trite here is also due to the fact that the performances by Kohlhof and Lehrer were pretty uneven. They were okay most of the time, but sometimes they were really flat. At least there was a cameo by Trine Dyrholm who is always great to see and she has a great role here.
Overall there were some really interesting ideas here and some very lush shots. But the film just doesn’t get off the ground. It’s okay, but just never more than that.