Apocalyptic movies are an odd breed. They’re sort of like “Usher” movies, without the cheat: In an apocalyptic movie, you know the world is going to end from the get-go, with no pretense of hope.
Which leaves precisely two avenues of exploration, thematically: The nihilistic one, where nothing matters and all life is a lie; or that what one does matters, in and of itself, regardless of whether the world is coming to an end.
In These Final Hours, we see a massive meteorite fly overhead in the opening credits, and when the movie starts, we see our protagonist, James, having sex with a girl. After which, the two talk, and he explains that he can’t face the end of the world sober. (It’s going to hurt, apparently.) He starts drinking and doing coke, and tries to get her high, which she refuses. She tells him to go to his girlfriend.
The movie flashes back to this scene a couple of times, revealing more and more about it, and making the hero seem more and more dubious a character.
Our movie begins as he heads to a wild bacchanalia whereupon he will drink and drug and sex until the world ends. A detour leads him to a situation where a couple of major league creeps have decided they’ll spend the rest of the world abusing a little girl. And as bad as our hero is, he’s not that bad.
This leads to him being stuck with the girl, who’s trying to get back to her father so they can be together at the end of the world.
Anyway, there’s your tension, because Our Man, while not a complete scumbag, really, really doesn’t want to face the end of the world, and only a vestige of his humanity keeps him from just abandoning his charge to her (short) fate.
In other words: Road picture!
Apocalyptic movies are in some ways much easier to do than post-apocalyptic movies: You only have to imagine the end of the world, not a new world that comes after it. But you do have to create drama and suspense out of a scenario that, no matter what, ends with pretty much everything and everyone being destroyed. (Barring a few exceptions like When Worlds Collide.)
And so it is here: Writer/director Zack Hilditch creates a scenario where the audience can care, very much, about what James (Nathan Philips, Wolf Creek, Dying Breed) does with his final moments. Angourie Rice plays the girl looking for her father (and quite convincingly). Jessica De Gouw (“Arrow”, “Dracula”) plays Jame’s side piece.
We really enjoyed it, insofar as one “enjoys" an apocalyptic film.