These Final Hours (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Well Go USA
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (2nd May 2015).
The Film

When a massive meteor strikes the North Atlantic, it wipes out the American East Coast and Western Europe almost instantly and is on its way to Australia in twelve hours. Amidst the prayers, the looting, the murders, suicides, and murder/suicides, all young James (Nathan Phillips) wants to do is not feel the pain as the Earth peels itself like a fiery orange; especially after friend Zoe (Jessica De Gouw) with whom he has just has unprotected sex for the hell of it muses on the sex of their potential child. While Zoe is content to stay by the Perth seaside and wait out the end of the world, James snorts some coke and tosses back a few bottles of beer before getting onto the road to attend the party to end all parties as thrown by girlfriend Vicky's brother (Kathryn Beck) Freddy (Daniel Henshall). When his car is commandeered by a machete-wielding psycho (Peter Docker), James abandons the vehicle in search of another one in a suburb where everyone has either cleared out, barricaded themselves in, or are dead. Spying a van pull up to a house with two men dragging a screaming little girl inside, James intends to steal the van but his conscience gets the better of him and he also saves the girl from sexual assault. Rose (Angourie Rice) was travelling with her father to her aunt's house in the country where the family was to meet up to be together for the end. Having been separated from him when they ran out of fuel, she begs James to help her look for her father or take her to her aunt's house. Working on his own deadline, James takes her to his sister's home only to find his sister and her husband have killed their children and themselves. After encounters with other people who are unwilling to take Rose since they are also exiting early, James has no choice but to take her with him to Freddy's in the hope that someone there can take her the rest of the way to her aunt's. What they find at Freddy's is an orgy of sex, booze, drugs, and variations on Russian Roulette. A stoned out of her gourd Vicky reveals to James Freddy's underground bunker to wait out the apocalypse for a year, but James has come to realize the importance of making the most of what few hours left with loved ones. James decides to take Rose to her aunt's house and race against the planet's date with obliteration to get back to Zoe. They may not be able to leave the party, however, when Rose is grabbed by an unstable woman (Sarah Snook) who thinks the girl is her daughter and wants to die with her, and a gun-wielding Freddy and Vicky are out to get James for scuttling their survival plan with logic (his remark "You're going to have to be a lot deeper than this" has a perhaps intentional double meaning).

After audience exposure to a handful of apocalyptic films and literally hundreds of post-apocalyptic low budget zombie films there is little novelty that writer/director Zak Hilditch can bring to the table visually, but These Final Hours sets itself apart by focusing on characters coming to terms with their fate with all attempts at escape being illusory. Phillips and Rice are compelling and it is gut-wrenching when the audience too must finally realize that no one is getting out of this film alive. Also effective are Snook, Beck whose bubble-headed character undergoes a digest version of James' arc from tuned out to deathly afraid to resigned, and Lynette Curran who imbues her little screen time as James' mother with humor and pathos. Some footage may have been lost to the cutting room floor since the credits cite actors for James' sister, brother-in-law, and nieces and the former two are barely glimpsed as corpses while the fate of the other two is only implied, but this slickly-produced, sub-ninety minute film never feels lacking in its intimate focus within a world cataclysm.

Video

Well Go USA's BD25 features a 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.40:1 transfer that appears to represent the film accurately. Given the apocalyptic scenario, the image is desaturated and pushed towards extreme warm tones without any egregious clipping of highlights. The film's cinematography leaves shakey-cam to a minimum, but slightly jittery handheld moments combined with the sunstruck color correction might be more responsible for some moments of less than crisp clarity rather than DNR.

Audio

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is an excellent listening option for a film that makes use of the surrounds to unnerve rather in extended periods rather than make the audience jump in otherwise front-oriented scenes. In a couple instances, the score builds up in the front and moves to the surrounds to envelop the listener while source music during the party scene blasts forth with bassy presence without drowning out character dialogue and discernable words and phrases from the ADR'd crowd. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo downmix is workable but not as effective. Optional English SDH subtitles are also included.

Extras

There are no extras other than the film's theatrical trailer (1:39) and trailers - skippable at start-up or playable from the trailers menu - for Sword of Vengeance, the already-reviewed Supremacy, and Enter the Dangerous Mind.

Packaging

The cover art reproduces one of the variations on the main poster artwork.

Overall

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.