“After The End, Act I”, is a disappointing film, to say the least. I’d like to say that this is D. Ryan Mowry’s firsts film, and chalk up the terrible cinematography and writing to inexperience, but I can’t. Mowry has made several previous independent films through his company Sneuwbal Films, “After The End, Act I”, being the most recent. 30 minutes is a terribly awkward length for a short film to begin with, and with the lack of budget, the bad sound, and the terribly amateur directing, it’s more awkward yet.
“After The End, Act I”, is apparently the first of several Acts set in the not-too-distant future when nuclear holocaust has turned everyone into zombies, except for a few pot smoking slackers living out in a Pennsylvania wasteland. Intending to pay homage to an already beaten to death idea of Romero’s Living Dead out in Pittsburgh, Mowry actually sets the film in the decidedly un-Pennsylvania-like Arizona, where desert cacti and sand let us know we are definitely not shooting on location. The beginning credits open with stock footage of H-bombs and nuclear holocaust of a level of professi0onalism not to be repeated ever again in the film. The music and the opening credits insinuate a much more professional film than what was actually created. Like so many independent filmmakers, the music and the graphics on the credits take precedent over the actual script and filmmaking itself, not only cheating the viewers but providing a stunning good/not good contrast between credits and story that is unforgivable. Mowry’s characters are shallow and hopelessly underwritten people who are not affected by the total destruction of the universe. They sit around all day and smoke pot. This is not a film about survival or about human relationships; it’s a film about pot smokers smoking too much pot. The world happens to be dead all around them. While the idea has merit as a joke, it’s not much to base over half an hour of footage on, let alone subsequent sequels and Acts. The film wants to cause laughter and inspire cult fans, but can never get over how funny it thinks it, and it never gets remotely serious enough to inspire real care on the part of the viewer.
Words that describe “After The End, Act I”: unintentionally ridiculous, badly filmed, and insultingly condescending in its attitude towards horror fans; yes, we do like zombies, yes, we do like Romero. That’s not enough to make you a filmmaker. Films require talent, planning, and care, and that’s something “After the End” just doesn’t have.
The Trailers and Teasers for the second and third acts that follow the initial footage is just as badly made. More like a teaser for a company that wants to get their film financed, so they made a short, “After The End” packages itself as a real movie. It’s not. Not only does this film not warrant any further acts, it doesn’t belong in a video store or on a shelf with other movies made by fans-turned-filmmakers.