2014 / Director. John Huddles.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
AFTER THE DARK was originally called THE PHILOSOPHERS, which is a far more apt title but in the interest of wider appeal the name was changed to something more catastrophic. It tells the story of a philosophy class in an unknown university in Jakarta, Indonesia who hypothesise various theoretic scenarios surrounding doomsday. Each of the synopsises put them in a position to choose which 10 (of 20) will survive in a secured bunker for 12 months and which 10 will perish. Their decisions are based on allocated professions, medical conditions and personality traits. The aim is to survive the fallout and reproduce. The scenarios are presented in fantasy, with the ideas unfolding as though actually happening. The result is a strange, yet exhilarating sci-fi thriller that examines human behaviour under pressure, against adversity. It's a film full of moral ambiguities and ethical dilemmas. At times it does over stretch itself by trying to be too clever but for the most part it's an accomplished and nicely understated film. Director John Huddles has constructed a thought provoking premise that ought to get the audience questioning their own principles. With a multicultural list of characters, the film has a broad appeal and will identify with a whole range of people and the young cast will hopefully entice a student demographic. It is certainly a "thinker" film and that's never a bad thing. The Indonesian setting gives the story a surreal and fantastical aesthetic with ancient temples and mountainous terrain providing a wonderful foreground to atomic destruction and volcanic decimation. There are a few shortcomings scattered throughout the movie but none worth drawing attention from what is otherwise an unexpected, original and stimulating thriller.