Hostile (Movie Review)

Hostile (Movie Review)

Fate has a funny way of rearing her beautiful head in the latest post-apocalyptic piece, Hostile, which arrives to Digital HD and VOD on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, thanks to 4Digital Media.

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland where it’s everyone for themselves, self-sacrificing, scrappy Juliette (Brittany Ashworth: The Crucifixion 2017, Accident Man 2018) has left behind a nest of nearly 40 survivors to pick through the rubble of civilization for gas and food, anything to help the group last another day. In another lifetime, her struggles were an entirely different animal as she tried to scrape by on the mean streets of New York City, drug addicted and doing whatever it took to live another day. Then she met the suave and sophisticated Frenchman Jack (Grégory Fitoussi: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra 2009, World War Z 2013), a gallery owner who took a particular interest in inspiring the young woman to love and to trust, and above all else, to never give up.

Hostile still.

Traveling through the desert in a dilapidated, outfitted old van, Juliette is currently searching abandoned gas stations and RVs for supplies. That is, until a horrible but entirely preventable accident leaves her a sitting duck. In the dead of night, trapped inside the overturned van with a fractured tibia, she will come face-to-face with a flesh-hungry creature (Javier Botet: The Conjuring 2 2016, It 2017) intent upon stalking her every move, the most cruel twist of fate for this spirited survivor.

Clocking in at 83 minutes in-length, Hostile was written and directed by Mathieu Turi (Sons of Chaos short 2010, Broken short 2012), and is a feature-length debut for this superbly-talented filmmaker. Truth be told, Hostile is one of those films that defies a clear-cut categorization, though its Drama/Horror billing seems a fair attempt. Here, there is a story within a story: one layer of the tale is heavily embedded in post-apocalyptic Horror, while the other is a Drama with light elements of Romance. Combined, they create a film that is entirely unique, though one might very loosely classify it somewhere alongside 2013’s Warm Bodies – minus the Comedy – and, at least visually speaking, 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. In short, this is a Drama set in a Horror-filled world.

Thankfully for the entire production, Hostile’s zombies are a gruesome blend of genderless emaciated humanoid and extraterrestrial vampire – wonderfully created by Jean-Christophe Spadaccini (The City of Lost Children 1995, The Bourne Identity 2002). So, while the tale itself is not exactly horrifying, there is a definite visual intensity to these creatures that lends some thrills throughout the film. In fact, without this genius creativity, Hostile might just be the story of a woman trapped in a van, running through vignettes of her former life in her anxious and fearful mind.

Hostile still.

Instead, Hostile is a multi-layered affair that comes to an intriguing conclusion. As she holds down the bulk of the entire tale, Ashworth’s acting talents are largely responsible for the film’s success. In her scenes as her former self, the NY street rat, Ashworth is timidly cautious, untrusting, hardened from a life of barely scraping by; a woman struggling to maintain a façade at night that never quite mirrors her daytime realities.

In her present incarnation, Juliette is hardened in a much different way, a survivor who has the pluck and spirit to persevere even in the most dire of circumstances. In her flashbacks, we see her personal evolution as an individual, and learn what (or whom) inspired this dramatic change in her entire motivation. So, while Juliette may be stuck inside a zombie-filled reality, it is truly her backstory that provides the meat of this tale. In managing both of her disparate roles so wonderfully, Ashworth buoys the story and gives it much of its impact.

Of course, one cannot ignore the flawless mastery of Fitoussi as the older, more refined gentleman Jack. His character is the entire impetus for Juliette’s evolution, and the motivation behind her newfound drive to live. As Jack, Fitoussi is perfectly suave and charismatic, a sophisticated man who is searching or something greater than art galleries and disinterested, fair-weather relationships. It is his love and trust that give this story its ultimate warmth.

Hostile still.

In fact, Hostile in truly more of a tale of fate than anything: who we were then impacts heavily who we are now, and those that we love will always be carried closest to our hearts. It takes a certain level of hostility to survive the travails of life and love, so why should the zombie apocalypse be any different? A wonderfully haunting tale that is steeped in flashbacks to real life drama, Hostile does a lot with very little, formulating a story that is as unique as its magnificently creep-tastic creatures. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Hostile 4 of 5 stars.

4Digital Media

Purchase Hostile:

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Jeannie Blue
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Jeannie likes to joke that she is little, yellow, blue, and different. She seemingly popped out of her mother's womb with a pen in her hand and has been writing ever since. Many moons ago - in what feels like a separate lifetime - Jean was co-editor of an online music magazine that afforded her great opportunities to interview and photograph some of her favorite bands/musicians: Tommy Lee, Good Charlotte, Warrant, Bring Me The Horizon, My Chemical Romance, Sevendust, New Found Glory, Deftones, Poison, VH-1 "Band On the Run" Flickerstick, an endless list of unsigned locals, and so many others. These days, she can usually be found hiking aimlessly through the woods in her favorite Technicolor sneakers with a Nikon in hand and her rescue dog, Molly, who is a bit hare-brained.

  • TerryLicia
    Posted at 10:27h, 08 June Reply

    Here it is, the first week of June 2020 and the world may very well be at the tipping point of a very real apocalyptic event! America has gone almost completely off the rails and now, other ‘free’ nations are joining our voices across the world about the centuries of injustice poured on the heads of the working class and the poor. Our causes are strong because they are just and real.

    I was amazed to watch this so-called horror movie after a week of being so wound-up that I just could not relax and sleep! But instead of boring me right to nod land, I became interested in the flick, and then utterly invested in WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

    I’ve never watched a movie that was billed as horror but then turns out to be nothing remotely close! Well, OK maybe a little bit ‘horror.’ The ‘creature’ costumes were fantastic! Yes, there were definitely moments where I was literally on the edge of my … bed! The acting was equally good, too! “Juliette” carries almost the entire movie on her own although handsome “Jack” certainly had his moments! And, that sexy accent … ooo la laaa! But combining the flashbacks of the pre-apocalypse world in the story, plus showing the audience the post-apocalyptic mess humanity is left with, it just does not seem like it would be a great set-up for a love story but that’s exactly what this movie is!

    It just melted my heart! Or else, the emotional release after a week of marching and speechifying had me ready to BE melted by love, ok … a littie bit! But who cares, RIGHT?! It worked for me, and apparently, it worked for the critic, Jeannie Blue, too! It must’ve worked for other viewers, too, because on the Amazon rating system, it got 4 out of 5 stars. Not bad for a movie selected for its almost guaranteed ‘bore me to sleep’ qualities!

    THE ENDING? OMG! THERE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN A BETTER ENDING! Just watch it and see! I’m sure you will agree, it was the only way it COULD end! Isn’t that how we want it for all our heroes and heroines? That they live ‘happily ever again, right?

    Perhaps some people with little imagination will think it’s just over but I happen to believe in multi-dimensional Universe, so I believe there are MANY ways the ending could be a new beginning for the couple! Finally, Jack and Juliette are united together, forever!


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