The popularity of The Walking Dead has heightened the profile of the zombie subgenre. It feels like paint-by-the-numbers zombie apocalypse movies have become a dime a dozen. Like this falls Maggie—though that film did it better—Extinction takes the standard formula and mixes in a healthy dose of family drama. While it’s an admirable approach, most of the relationships explored are underdeveloped and uninteresting.
As the film begins, two buses head toward the apparent safety of a military base. However, the journey has barely started when they come under attack. In the chaos, the focus becomes three survivors—Patrick (Matthew Fox), Jack (Jeffrey Donovan), Emma (Valeria Vereau) and an infant in their care. Some of the attacked rise again, infected, and in search of their own victims. With that, the film jumps forward nine years.
The world is a vast wasteland. Patrick and Jack are neighbors, but haven’t spoken in years. Patrick blares rock music and runs a podcast in hopes of finding other survivors. Jack is raising his pre-teen daughter, Lu (Quinn McColgan) cautiously. She is educated and inquisitive, but not allowed to step foot beyond the fenced yard. All three have come to believe the creatures, like the rest of humanity, are dead and gone.
How wrong they are.
A snowstorm has kept them away. But as a means to adapt to the freezing temperatures, they’ve evolved into slithering crawlers. Based on a novel by Juan de Dios Garduño and directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas, Extinction is surprisingly polished, but playing out in a predictable manner. The film does have a few memorable scenes, but those come in the first half hour of the 113 minute runtime. Most of the action happens in the first half hour as well, before giving way to underdeveloped character drama.
In spite of the film’s problems, Mathew Fox gives an impassioned performance as a caring father with few options. Quinn McColgan also brings a welcome to the energy to the proceedings. Jeffrey Donovan’s portrayal is rather wooden, but it actually works for the character. Unfortunately, both performers are limited by a script that doesn’t allow them to stretch beyond the predictable.
Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is rather sharp with no apparent defects. This is a rather dark film, but the occasional splashes of color look strong, with a solid level of detail. The transfer won’t blow you away, but it’s fine.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track does its job well, providing clear dialogue and sound effects. Surrounds are apparent during action scenes, largely from the center and rare speakers.
English, English SDH, Chinese (Traditional), French, Korean, Spanish and Thai subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Making of Extinction (13 min.) Interviews with cast and crew. There’s a discussion about the films themes, the production, with special attention paid to the difficulty of spreading snow on the set.
- The Creatures (3 min.) A brief look at how the creatures were created.
- Digital Effects Part 1 (3 min.) Visual Effects Supervisor Juan Manuel Nogales discusses the visual effects. We also get a breakdown of how several shots were layered.
- Digital Effects Part 2 (2 min.) A continuation of the visual effects discussion.
- Matthew Fox and Jeffrey Donovan (2 min.) The two actors discus their characters.
- Clara Lago and Quinn McColgan (2 min.) The actresses discuss their characters.