Review: HOW TO SAVE US

When it comes to post-apocalyptic films, we’ve unfortunately seen most of what the subgenre tends to offer. Dry, desolate nothings, filled with weathered clothes, a thirst for water or blood and a lot of facial hair. Sure, sometimes that’s fine and wonderful (see HTSU-Poster-FInal1-thumb-300xauto-54921 or see my fist to your face..not really, but really, see it.), but sometimes as a viewer and a writer, I’m looking for a different take on a future without people everywhere, without the day to day lives we take for granted. Having given his spin on silly white people in THE FP, the reality TV craze in WET AND RECKLESS and the superhero genre in ALL SUPERHEROES MUST DIE, director Jason Trost turns his attention to just what I was referring to with his brand new film, HOW TO SAVE US.

The futuristic landscape featured in HOW TO SAVE US isn’t the typical one, instead of desert and nothingness, we’re given quite the beautiful scenery of Tasmania, with the story of Brian Everett, a man whose sole mission is the find his missing brother Sam, a man lost within a futuristic quarantine that also involves some sort of “ghosts”. Right from the beginning, it’s made very clear that this isn’t your typical futuristic film, with Brian narrating the rules left by Sam to avoid the ghosts, including cloaking yourself with the ashes of the deceased, and being able to see the “ghosts” only via infrared video cameras. It’s a fresh and exciting approach that makes you curious as to where the film is headed, and the mythology and rules in which the film plays in is quite interesting, with each mysterious pieces being peeled back more and more as the film goes on.

The great thing about Trost’s abilities as not only a director but as a storyteller, is how he’s able to know how to make the resources he has into elements that facilitate the story quite perfectly. Upon discovering that EVP can kill the “ghosts”, Brian doesn’t go all out with explosions and the typical stuff we’d get in a much bigger budget affair, instead he takes an old Nintendo Power Glove and alters it to send those wavelengths toward the “ghosts”, killing them and helping him on his way. That subtlety is key to HOW TO SAVE US, as its’s just not the kind of flamboyant futuristic film that a lot of viewers have come to expect. Instead, it’s a very subtle, story AND character driven film that relies more on its character’s journeys and what they must go through to get there as opposed to nonstop gadgets and mega fx.

Trost’s abilities as both an actor AND filmmaker have grown tremendously since WET AND RECKLESS, and he really leads the film with an ease rarely found in a lot of independent films and similar types of films. His dramatics chops are here, front and center, and when a huge plot point and revelation is revealed during the final quarter of the film, he’s able to really carry the film and demand you to go along with him.

A character-driven and refreshingly entertaining film, HOW TO SAVE US is easily one of the most original films of its kind, and one to really stand alongside, championing it to those looking for an excellently developed post apocalyptic journey with some of the most beautifully shot cinematography in a good while.

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