Hostile Image


By Joshua Speiser | September 6, 2018

Post-apocalyptic horror flicks seem to have become more and more derivative of late, especially when zombies or other mutated baddies are the cause for societal collapse. For every 28 Days Later, there’s an overabundance of knock-offs jockeying for space on your favorite streaming service. While Mathieu Turi’s Hostile steals pages from some of the best films of this genre (including Mad Max: Fury Road, The Road, and elements of The Terminator), the filmmaker does take some unique chances by weaving back and forth in time and ratcheting up the scares by staging much of the action within the confined space of a ruined van. However, Turi flies too close to the sun in the final part of the third act, bringing the flick down with an unfortunate, resonating thud.

“…leg impaled by the steering wheel and her pistol out of reach…that’s when the monsters come out.”

The film opens with a young woman, in full Furiosa garb, crisscrossing an arid environment in her battered van in search of supplies. Obviously, something horrible has occurred as the landscape is barren and scarred, devoid of life except the other occasional scavenger and the dreaded reapers (not the Harry Potter kind) — horribly disfigured creatures who prey upon those caught unawares in the wasteland. Just in case you weren’t paying attention, she whisks past a “Welcome To…” road sign spray painted with the warning “All Dead” in macabre letters, driving the point home. Juliette, as we come to know her name, is on her way back from a supply run when a freak accident occurs, causing her van to crash and land dramatically upside down. With her leg impaled by the steering wheel and her pistol out of reach, help from her never seen compatriots is denied just as night begins to fall. And, like in most children’s fairy tales, that’s when the monsters — in this case, the reapers — come out.

As all this well-paced action unfolds, the filmmaker constantly shifts in time, filling out Juliette’s backstory. As a pretty young woman crashing Manhattan art gallery openings for free food and booze, this Juliette is also a drug dealer, addict, and prostitute — like Jessica Jones without the super-powers and more heroin. As fate would have it, at one of these art galleries, she encounters Jack — a tall, dark, and handsome French art-gallery owner who is straight from a central casting call for “Eurotrash boyfriend.” (I swear, I could smell the Drakkar-Noir wafting off him each time he appeared onscreen.) But, I digress. Jack dashes in as Juliette’s knight in shining armor, helping her get clean and leave her sordid life behind. They wed, shack up in a new house, and begin a life of domestic bliss. However, in a one-two punch of misfortune, Juliette miscarries, which upends the couple’s relationship, and Jack is the victim of a terrorist chemical attack.

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  1. Dan Maximovich says:

    This is the second time I’ve watched this movie. I love this movie. I didn’t know if the creature was Jack or not. But I read a review that said he was.
    For some reason this movie touched me enough to be one of my favorites..

  2. Jim says:

    How exactly does one “impale a leg on the steering wheel”? Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. Amy Polka says:

    I just watched this film for the first time and wholeheartedly agree with this review. The ending all but ruined the movie for me. Come on, really? Zombie Jack seemed capable to communicate non-malicious intent in any number of ways, right?? So I get he can’t but help eat a guy’s head in front of her, but creepily bending over and staring at Juliette trapped in the van and then running towards her….what’s protective and affectionate about this? I almost wanted Zombie Jack to be just a zombie in the end with some beautiful respect to the end of another creature’s life, bringing us back to the Francis Bacon theme.

  4. Javier says:

    horrible movie. Boring. She just happens to wreck right where her baby daddy dwells and he saves her life.

  5. Jamo says:

    Terrible ending indeed. Let’s also pass on the fact that her eurotrash boyfriend first stalked her, followed her without any permission or consent, then abducted her and of course forced kiss her so its oh so romantic. Every freaking terrible nauseating romance tropes ever, stacked with the cliche twist in the end. You have got to ask how in the world did her fiance just happen to be there, also how in his state did he recognize her ?? And fought his predatory instinct ? That makes 0 sense but hey.

  6. The king says:

    Why was the ending unbelievable? If watched it again, you would realise that the creature didn’t really want to kill her, but just wanted to get closer to her. In fact, the creature was keeping watch over her the whole time. The creature has immense strength (crushed a guy’s head with just 1 stomp) and could’ve just ripped that 4wd apart to get to her, but it didn’t. It all makes sense once you realise why it didn’t want to kill her.

  7. Scooby Dubious says:

    So let me see if i understand you: the ENDING was too unbelievable for you, but you had no problem with the whole post-apocalyptic zombie premise before that?
    Sheesh, it wasn’t THAT bad. In fact it was a lot better than I expected. In a genre filled with cliches, I found the ending to be a nice surprise actually.

  8. David Wheat says:

    Dumbest movie ending since Thelma & Louise.

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