Extinction Movie Review
Written by Becky Roberts
Released by Dark Art Films
Written by Adam Spinks and Ben Loyd-Holmes
Directed by Adam Spinks
2015, 103 minutes, Rated 15(UK)
World Premiere on 24th August 2014
Sarah Mac as Michelle
Ben Loyd-Holmes as Professor John Howson
Daniel Caren as James
Neil Newbon as Rob
Emma Lillie Lees as Lisa
Simon Burbage as Tim
Dolores Reynals as Maria
Adam Spinks is a new kid on the block, making his directorial feature debut with epidemic infection horror Survivors earlier this year. Now, only months later, his second comes in the form of high-suspense adventure thriller, Extinction, which has its world premiere at Film4 Frightfest 2014 and is due to hit UK shores next spring.
Professor John Howson and his team of researchers go deep into the Amazon jungle with a camera crew on a quest for discovery and the protection of endangered species. But when their guides suddenly flee, the ambitious group find themselves lost... yet not alone. They are in a highly dangerous prehistoric apex and at the mercy of the hungry predators within it. Everything is captured on film, and Extinction is the untouched documentary of what happened – and proof of what’s really out there.
Extinction is a film of two halves: a bad one and a good one. In that order. The first fifty minutes sees a mismatched, bickering group of people enter the jungle, each taking their turn at showing how unlikeable they are. We get some context about the team and their conflicting intentions, but the handful of characters are largely undeveloped. Though a few unexplained noises raise a few eyebrows early on, they simply go about their so-far-uneventful adventure...
Stick with it though – as it hits the hour mark, the plot kicks into gear. And when it does, it’s full-throttle. As the realisation of the predators’ threat sets in - the hunters quickly becoming the hunted - it’s a panic-ridden headlong race for survival.
As a found footage film, it works. The ‘professional’ angle that the camera crew justifies makes this an effectively well-shot and believable documentary in its ‘raw’ form. It doesn’t require much effort on the audience part – there’s not a headache-inducing shaky handheld in sight – and what you do and don’t see keeps tension at boiling point.
Spinks realises the potential of the found-footage style and puts it to good use: after the camera is dropped on a nearby rock, it captures a lengthy shot of the surviving members frozen in fear as a dinosaur cautiously enters the frame to sniff them out. It takes its time, and the suspense is hair-raising.
The cast is finally tested when things get sticky, too, Sarah Mac’s performance as the terrified young Michelle (one of the camera crew) particularly realistic. No, it’s no Jurassic Park – though influences from the dino classic are plain as day. But if you’re after a few scares and a truly terrifying adventure (or almost an hour of it, anyway), Extinction offers just that.
Got time for only one dino movie next year? There may another worth holding out for. Did anyone say Jurassic World?
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