Descendents
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // $26.98 // May 15, 2012
Review by William Harrison | posted May 15, 2012
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version

THE FILM:

Those looking for George Clooney should look elsewhere; this Descendents is about a group of nomadic children uniquely immune to the virus that turned the rest of humanity into zombies. A Chilean import from Director Jorge Olguín, Descendents has some interesting matte-painting backgrounds and low-budget effects, but the film is an exercise in style over substance. With a story that could have been told in 15 minutes and seemingly endless flashbacks to uninteresting plot points, Descendents is dead on arrival.

The film opens with a monologue from nine-year-old Camille, who explains that a virus caused most humans to turn into flesh-eating zombies. Camille has bloody lines on her neck, and is immune from both the virus's effects and the zombies' unhealthy cravings. After she is separated from her mother, Camille begins searching for other children like her so she can reach sanctuary far from the guns of the militants trying to cleanse the earth of zombies.

If Descendents unspooled linearly, the story would only eat up about 15 minutes of film. Unfortunately, Olguín chooses to stretch the running time to 74 tedious minutes. There are only a handful of distinct scenes in Descendents: In the present, Camille and her companions walk through the barren landscape and encounter soldiers and zombies, and, in the past, Camille and her mother are separated at a military hospital. The film constantly flashes back to the scenes of Camille and her mom, revealing slightly more of the action each time. It's too bad this interaction is completely uninteresting.

The rest of Descendents is spent watching Camille walk around under an unnaturally orange sky. The film lacks forward motion, and, because Camille rarely speaks, there is no rhyme or reason to anything she does. The young actress who plays Camille shows little emotion, even during scenes when she should be frightened or sad. A fly-on-the-wall look at Camille trek through the treacherous landscape might have been interesting had the filmmakers bothered to create any tension or danger for Camille. Instead, Olguín allows Descendents to meander through its indistinctive, often zombie-free surroundings without purpose.

The crude digital effects are kind of charming up to a point - infected humans turn a ghostly white before spewing digital blood - but only further detach Descendents from reality. Without a strong protagonist to anchor the story, Descendents is completely without personality. Repetitive, confusing and boring, Descendents is a waste of time.

THE DVD:

PICTURE:

The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is pretty good. The unnatural colors and landscapes of Descendents are accurately recreated, and detail and texture are solid. Black levels are decent, and colors are nicely saturated. There is a bit of compression noise, and aliasing also popped up on several occasions.

SOUND:

The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is quite strong, with solid bass and good effects reproduction. The minimal amount of dialogue is clear, and ambient effects creep into the rear and surround speakers. Gunfire, jet engine roar and scrambling zombies create some nice sound effects, and the track responds with active pans and LFE rumblings. English and Spanish subtitles are available.

EXTRAS:

The Making of Descendents (28:35) provides a nice look at the production and includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Several music videos are included: Descendents "Main Theme" composed and performed by Claudio Perez (4:12), "Llevame" composed and performed by Denise Malebran (4:30), "Los Ninos" composed by Alvaro Espana and performed by Fiskales Ad-Hok (2:25), and "Manicomio" composed by Catalina Bravo and performed by Voodoo Zombie (4:12). The extras conclude with the film's trailer (1:15).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Although Descendents shows some early promise, this Chilean important adds nothing to the zombie-horror genre. The film follows a young girl immune from the zombie virus as she searches for companions and sanctuary. Descendents is repetitive, dull and forgettable. Skip It.



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