How to Save Us (2015)

How to Save UsStarring Jason Trost, Coy Jandreau, Kate Avery

Directed by Jason Trost


Come on, let’s all admit the harsh truth – a man making the trek across a barren wasteland decimated by plague or nuclear disaster or some other unnamed apocalyptic occurrence, trying to reach a family member or to grab an antidote for what ails him, is pretty routine stuff, huh? Seems like you’d need a nice twist on the above premise, followed by a strong lead performance, to make said premise watchable and interesting to boot… well, consider it done.

Jason Trost, who is no stranger to turning the directorial landscape on its ear, having put out gems like The FP and the incredibly underrated All Superheroes Must Die, opts to go the post-apocalyptic route with a horror/sci-fi/drama blend titled How To Save Us, and he decidedly knocks it out of the park once again. Taking the three-headed hydra by the reins (directing, writing, and acting), he plays Brian, one survivor of a cataclysmic event that has decimated the population to something you could count on your fingers and toes (depending on how many you had).  He heads out on a rescue mission to track down his missing brother, Sam (Jandreau), somewhere in Tasmania, which is now overrun by evil ghosts. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, this works on many levels.

Now simply putting on your best travelin’ shoes and strutting out the door to save your kin isn’t as easy as one would believe, especially in these conditions – the novelty of dousing yourself in human ashes so the spirits can’t get a fix on you is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. These baddies have the innate ability to manifest themselves through EMP (electromagnetic pulses), so anything with an electric heartbeat acts as a suitable conduit for the terrors that bring along piercing siren-like noises and garbled voices – pretty creepy stuff in the way Trost directs the scenes, with an eerie purplish-hue and distorted figures to accompany the horrors of the otherworld. At one point his character puts an antiquated Nintendo Power Glove into use to defend himself against the specters – it just doesn’t get any more bad-ass than that (for those who don’t know what one is, feel free to Googleize it).

As the movie progresses, Brian covers some serious ground in very hostile territory, and combined with Trost’s performance and the simply eye-pleasing visuals like vacated city streets, vastly desolated countryside shots, and tensely-wrought close ups, we’ve got a serious winner as far as the ocular pleasure factor is concerned. I’ll admit that some of the scenes can drag in spots, but it’s purely a constructive tactic to lure you into serenity before you’re smacked in the face with the unseen frights that will be sure to make their presence known. This is a small-budget production that brings big surprises, in both acting and descriptive representations of a planet gone to hell. As far as end of the world pics go, this one has got to be put in the mentionable upper echelon of displays – well worth the time to check it out.

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Matt Boiselle

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