It was only a matter of time before someone made a zombie flick about COVID – and Geoff Reisner and Jason Tobias answer the call with a healthy shot of allegorical ghoulism. The real-world analogy is implied by an intro that explains how “spreading sickness, restricted travel and curfews” led to a wall being built around the infected zone, where we find an American family (Jason Tobias, Marci Miller, Danny Ruiz and Cece Kelly) barely surviving.
Forget Everything and Run (an acronym of FEAR) stretches its tiny budget by barely featuring the zombies at all, much as 2017’s It Comes At Night kept the focus on the human fallout from such a disaster. Using few characters in a couple of locations, the film lays bare the disintegration of trust in society and blames the government’s handling of the pandemic. “They said that they were going to help anybody that needed it,” says one survivor in defence of his burgeoning taste for human flesh. Poor guy was probably sick of banana bread.
With all that said, the movie is surprisingly hopeful and even schmaltzy in parts. It follows the success of humourless, cloying survival hits – like Bird Box and A Quiet Place – and seems so indebted to the latter that the leading man even looks a bit like John Krasinski. The problem with the focus on people over action is the lack of characterisation, their backstories limited to a handful of cheesy, uninteresting flashbacks. These do however afford the capable actors opportunities to show their range between the glossy before-times and the greyed-out present, also reflected in the contrasting cinematography.
While good at suggesting its gore using sound and mounting some genuinely suspenseful moments, the picture suffers from a hokey score, mawkish overtones and an over reliance on certain devices. People pointing guns in each other’s faces, getting distracted by loud noises and a subplot about the son overcoming his aversion to rifles are all clichés that distract from the inescapable fact that this feature is actually about something, more so than recent bigger-budget genre efforts like 2019’s Zombieland: Double Tap. Plus, it quotes Ripley’s famous line from Aliens which basically garners it instant respect.