In this independent found footage horror, a duo of documentary journalists become involved in the machinations of a mysterious cult hidden in Australia’s outback. The cult’s leader, Michael (David Macrae), envisions the end of the world will soon come. Is he mad or is there a kernel of truth in what his all female disciples say? If the story sounds somewhat familiar, then it may be because you’re thinking about Gareth Evans’ segment of V/H/S 2, entitled Safe Haven, which covered similar ground.
Whereas Evans went for the jugular in a short, sharp shockfest, Apocalyptic’s writer/director, Glenn Triggs, lets his story brew before tipping its contents all over you. Triggs ensures realism throughout: cameras aren’t conveniently placed to capture action and music is a big no-no. A large success of the film is in the performances, something which can often destroy any attempt to pass off a movie as something that really happened (we offer Exhibits A and B: Gacy House and 100 Ghost Street). Macrae is particularly creepy, simply by being so utterly open and friendly. There’s no damning the outsiders and cursing with fire and brimstone here. Which is why, when things start to spiral out of control, it’s even more disturbing. His casual selection of a child to take to bed is particularly effective in how under-played it is.
Triggs has mentioned that The Blair Witch Project was a large influence on him when he was younger, and this is quite evident, particularly in some earlier scenes when our heroic journos are gathering information from some locals nearby.
Like all found footage films, Apocalyptic does suffer from a couple of scenes that are nothing more than pointing at the ground and shouting ‘What the fuck is that?’, which is distracting. However, with strong performances and clear talent on show, Apocalyptic is nerve-shredding and we look forward to seeing what else Triggs will have up his sleeve in the future.