Sunday, November 15, 2020

Movie Review: "A Feral World" (2020)

Movie poster for the 2020 film "A Feral World"
Image Source

Movie"A Feral World"
Director: David Liban
Year: 2020
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

The "post-apocalypse" genre has been a favorite for big-budget studios and independent filmmakers for decades. Maybe it's because using abandoned, dilapidated buildings and limitless desert landscapes make for relatively inexpensive film shoots. Maybe it's because vast tundras devoid of people make excellent cinematic eye candy. Perhaps, it's a little of both. Over the past few years, we have seen numerous small-scale, human-centered stories told in post-apocalyptic settings, including "It Comes at Night" (2017), "The Road" (2009), and "Cargo" (2018). "A Feral World" (2020) also attempts to do the same. The film is written and directed by David Liban, a film professor at CU Denver's College of Arts and Media, who clearly made the movie on a shoestring budget. It was shot over several years. We believe this had more to do with the previously mentioned budget restrictions rather than it being a conscious "Boyhood"-esque artistic choice, but who knows. Liban manages to weave the time delays into his story to his advantage, making it seem intentional as the child actors age in real-time. The story centers on a young boy named Sonny (Caleb Liban, the director's son), who has been orphaned during a global fallout. He soon pairs up with a woman named Emma (Danielle Prall), who has been searching for her daughter, who was abducted from their home during the dissolution of society. Together, they must help each other survive long enough to figure out where Emma's daughter may have been taken.

Caleb Liban and Danielle Prall in "A Feral World"
Caleb Liban and Danielle Prall in "A Feral World." (Image Source)
The apocalypse in "A Feral World" (2020) seems that it was caused by technology gone awry. Tiny, flesh-eating, building-destroying nano-bots appear on-screen as a swarm of insects that look as though they've been yanked straight out of a poorly CGI-ed "made for sci-fi channel movie" or some tech-savvy child's homemade YouTube video. We don't enjoy the prospect of hating on a movie for its graphics, especially when it was so clearly someone's passion project, but the CGI in this movie is really bad. Luckily, the goofy CGI is offset by some competent camerawork. As we mentioned above, it's not hard to make the right landscape look incredible, even when your movie is being made on the cheap. The narrative itself is a simple one as Sonny and Emma form a familial bond while they look for her abducted daughter. They walk, walk, walk, and they talk, talk, talk, and occasionally, they come across other desperate, sometimes violent people who are looking for a fight in this changed world. Eventually, Emma and Sonny come to a point where they may have to save her daughter from the person who snatched her, even if they might get hurt in the process. Unfortunately, we never felt the danger or passion or tension these situations should have held. If a mother is looking for her abducted daughter, we should feel the sadness, rage, and concern that she's feeling. We shouldn't feel bored. The script lacks nuance and emotion, and it feels derivative as a whole. It doesn't help that the characters themselves aren't written with a lot of depth. We're sorry to say it, but the acting in "A Feral World" (2020) comes off as bland and overly-scripted. We know that most of the individuals in this film are not professional actors, and the ones that are aren't very experienced, but for us, the stiffness brought the movie-watching experience down a peg or two.
Drew Barrett plays Maddy in the movie "A Feral World."
Drew Barrett plays Maddy in "A Feral World." (Add caption)

We certainly appreciate the effort and the dedication put in by those involved in the making of "A Feral World" (2020), but heart and drive will only get you so far. You still have to engage your audience, and sadly, we just weren't all that captivated by this story. There are a couple of interesting elements that could've worked out had they been explored more in-depth, but overall, the film is seriously lacking.

My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: ~3.2/10
RT Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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