Endzeit (Ever After) movie review: there will come soft rains

part of my Directed by Women series
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Endzeit (Ever After) green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

This German zombie flick offers horror with a spin of feminine steel, not soft but brutally maternal, as necessary as natural selection and as nurturing as civilizational, even planetary tough love.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for movies by and about women
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
women’s participation in this film
female director, female screenwriter, female protagonist
(learn more about this)

Another zombie movie? Not exactly. Even from the first, German horror flick Endzeit (which translates as End Time, not the Ever After transliteration that we English-language audiences are offered) has a different spin on a well-trod subgenre. It’s several years after the virus has struck: we’re already in the aftermath as we meet Eva (Maja Lehrer), who works on the crew regularly shoring up the fencing around the city of Weimar… the fence that keeps the undead out. (These zombies don’t shamble: they run. And they’re voracious, of course.) And even though we’re told that the only other pocket of human survival is the nearby city of Jena, there’s still enough civilization left that Vivi (Gro Swantje Kohlhof), who has been deeply traumatized by her very specific experience of the end of the world, is, in Weimar, being tenderly cared for in some sort of psychiatric hospital. Compassion has not been thrown away, even here, where the zombie-infected are killed without mercy. Or, perhaps, out of an abundance of mercy.

Not only does Endzeit not bother with another tedious walk on the treadmill of a familiar onset-of-the-apocalypse, it’s not going to take a recognizable path through the afterscape, either. Circumstances throw tough, pragmatic Eva and fragile, gentle Vivi together outside the protection of Weimar, as they try to get to Jena… where, it is said, they are searching for a cure for the zombie virus. As the two young women find themselves for the first time in the posthuman environment, screenwriter Olivia Vieweg, making her feature debut, and director Carolina Hellsgård, with her second feature, slowly reveal to us a vision of the Earth shrugging off the curse of heedless humanity and the possibility of a future that brings us upright apes back in tune with nature. Endzeit is horror with a spin of feminine steel, not soft and pink but brutally maternal, as necessary as natural selection and as nurturing as planetary tough love.

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