Cabin Fever in a Post-apocalyptic World
Zombies not Required
Mike (Dean Chekvala) and Kim (Amy Cale Peterson) are a married couple that have taken sanctuary in a remote, solitary cabin for six months after a devastating viral outbreak. Time and isolation has taken its toll on their supplies, and on their marriage. Not only have they had to kill off the infected friends that had taken refuge with them, but also had to bury their infant child, who had succumb to a virus that turns your eyes and blood black, and drives you into a deranged, murderous state. Faced with almost inevitable death, either due to hunger or the deadly infected prowling outside, Kim begins a slow decent into psychosis, brought on by her seclusion within the dark, fortified cabin and driven by the secrets and regrets of how the couple has survived, which slowly unfolds as her hallucinations become more vivid and reality slips away. Mike, on the other hand, has taken the alpha male approach of providing for his mate by risking his own life searching for supplies in a post-apocalyptic environment filled with plague victims on the hunt for the uninfected, never realizing that his refusal to allow Kim outside is fueling her disintegration into madness — until it is too late and tragic consequences befall the couple.
It’s a shame that Dead Within fails to deliver when it had so much potential for being an excellent post-apocalypse zombie film; especially with Dean Chekvala (True Blood) and Amy Cale Peterson (Vicariously) turning in top-notch performances.
The fault here lies with director and co-writer Ben Wagner, who keeps the narrative within the walls of the cabin. And because of this we never truly get a sense of the threat and devastation outside. Instead, we get a film padded with hallucinations and a smattering of gore in an attempt to gratify the audience; neither of which terrifies or is enough to makeup for the missing undead chaos.
Unfortunately, what could have been a compelling and terrifying post-apocalyptic zombie film that examines the psyche of someone forced to seclude them self in a small, darkened space in order to survive runs out of steam at the halfway mark.
Directed by Ben Wagner
Written by Matthew Bradford, Dean Chekvala, Amy Cale Peterson and Ben Wagner
Cast: Amy Cale Peterson, Dean Chekvala, Rick Federman, Sarah McMaster and J. Claude Deering (voice)
Run Time: 91 minutes
Release Date: VOD, Sept 9, 2014