Last Of The Living (2008)
Last of the Living is a lot of fun. It is rigidly unoriginal and startlingly predictable, but because of its trio of amiable characters and a self-knowing silliness, it’s an genuinely enjoyable laugh-riot through zombified New Zealand.
Morgan and Ash are life-long friends, and have teamed together with loose-cannon ex-boxer Johnny to survive the zombie apocalypse that has blighted the globe. Their method of survival is literally doing nothing. With the electricity and phones still magically working a month after the world collapsed, they move from mansion to mansion, eating food, playing computer games and watching hilariously sexist exercise videos to get their kicks. This is all going well until they stumble upon Stef, a bio-chemist who might just have the cure to the plague that has wiped out most of mankind. Determined to help her, mostly just to get inside her pants, the trio decide to drop their Xbox controllers and save the world, one baseball batted zombie-face at a time.
Beginning with an impressive start sequence that riffs heavily off 28 Days Later, The Last of the Living quickly descends into a hundred other zombie clichés – a souped up zombie-killing vehicle, a trip to the supermarket, an ill-advised visit to a hospital – but despite this utter absence of originality it does everything with such charm and warmth that it’s difficult not to enjoy yourself. Morgan and Ash’s tumultuous relationship is especially endearing, as is Morgan’s desperate attempt to bed Stef, despite him being a selfish and misogynistic imbecile.
The Last of the Living is not hugely inventive, nor is it trying to be. It has a solid cast, who do a good job with the material they’re handling, and a number of smart set-pieces that will please any zombie fan. There are some surprisingly good special effects for a film with such an obviously low budget, but also some truly diabolical undead make-up… and I mean totally pig-ugly rubbish prosthetics that make even the Teletubbies look real. This is a minor quibble, however, as the violence against the zombies is done with energy, wit and a surprising amount of style.
Despite the obvious plotting, the script jumps between being incredibly smart and incredibly dumb, providing some sharp one-liners alongside some gratingly immature fart gags that are totally unnecessary and unwanted. This quick-snap contrast also applies to the score / soundtrack, which at times is completely incongruous and sounds bizarrely like a Saturday-morning children’s show, while elsewhere it is rocking and really in-keeping with the feel of the movie. Despite the lengthy drawing out of some scenes that works really well, the end seems rushed and unrewarding, especially when one character’s deterioration into the living dead is entirely done off-screen.
The Last of the Living is amusing, stupid and energetic. It suffers from a distinct lack of originality, some appalling bit-part acting and shoddy effects, but overall it’s an enjoyable experience that doesn’t damage the zombie genre with its existence. Great, undemanding, obvious fun.