The low-budget Australian apocalyptic drama These Final Hours has such a terrific start — an adrenaline rush of panic and dread as a huge asteroid colliding with the Earth sends a wall of fire around the planet. It’s a shame the movie peters out about halfway though and dead-ends with an unsatisfactory finale.
It takes place in Perth, often billed as “the most isolated metropolis in the world,” and its sun-blanched suburbia makes for the perfect setting for a film about mankind’s end. Nathan Phillips (the TV series The Bridge) is a guy with no particular ambition who just wants to spend his last moments partying with friends and his girlfriend in a rave-style bacchanalia.
But on his way there, he stumbles across a young girl named Rose (Angourie Rice) being accosted by a couple of thugs. He saves her and has to make a decision on whether to abandon her, take her with him to the party, or honor her wishes to reunite her with her father so she can face the end with family.
It turns into a fearful road trip and director Zak Hilditch makes the most of his small budget, concentrating on character instead of special effects, and gets generally solid performances from his mostly unknown cast.
It’s too bad, then, that These Final Hours ultimately doesn’t go anywhere new and lacks the haunting sense of foreboding that the similarly themed On The Beach — when Melbourne was the last city on Earth to go down in the apocalypse — tread more than a half-century ago.
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These Final Hours
Director: Zak Hilditch
Cast: Nathan Phillips, Sarah Snook, Jessica De Gouw
Rated: Unrated (strong language, drug use, sex, violence)
Running time: 87 min.