The last of my look into the future for Toronto After Dark Film Festival. This time I take a look at one of the two films that are part of tonight’s post apocalyptic programming with Refuge.

This film is part of a long tradition of post apocalyptic collapses. Here we have a future that is wiped out by the spread of highly virulent bacteria that causes most of the world to succumb to illness. Those that are infected are highly contagious and should be avoided. One family is doing the best they can at staying under the radar of those who may do them harm.

While out foraging for supplies, the father Jack () comes across Russell () after he has a motorcycle accident. Injured, Russell returns with Jack to the family home until he is well enough to move on. Russell is looking to meet up with his brother up north near the Canadian border. He’s only there for a day or two before his old life comes back to haunt him. A band of marauders come across the house and they want in.

In this type of world, people are usually worse than what has created the world they live in. Here, people who survive in a world without readily available food, water and medicine become amoral savages. It’s the Road Warrior type world before the last vestiges of humanity are stripped away. Humanity is only portrayed in the way they should – brutal animals only concerned with themselves.

The surprising thing is that there is something more to this movie. There is, though slim, a sliver of hope that not all people are self serving scum. By the time we come to this conclusion though, it’s hard to feel any empathy for those involved in the story except the daughter Birdie. She truly is innocent and still represents the best in humanity.

Carter Roy does the majority of the heavy lifting during the running time of the movie. He is the perfect entry into the world of Refuge. He is believable as a father who only wishes the best for his wife and daughter, even when he is acting like a jerk towards them. Sebastian Beacon’s Russell is interesting in that he never quite fits into any of the typical character types for this genre. He is neither specifically good or evil at any given point and sometimes comes off a little creepier than I would have expected. This is a testament to the filmmakers’ attempt to do something new and different in the genre.

Unfortunately, it was not what I was looking with this type of story. This film is meant more for those who enjoy the slow burn of a films like The Road or The Day (two films I was not really a fan of). If that is your preference, than this film is absolutely for you. Fans of the genre who like those movies will really enjoy what Refuge is putting forth. But as I said, for such a dark film on the state of man, there is still that little shred of hope that humanity can overcome the situation and come out on the other side whole. I just wouldn’t count on it.

Refuge screens Wednesday October 22nd at 7pm located at the Scotiabank Theatre. Make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of the screening as seating is always up for grabs. I’ll see you AFTER DARK!

If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!