Zombie films are common in the horror genre, so it’s a challenge to bring something different to the typical “survive the zombie outbreak” narrative. This time, we’ve got zombies in a natural setting with Endzeit, adaptation of Olivia Vieweg’s graphic novel brought to life an ethereal touch by director Carolina Hellsgård.

Vivi (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) and Eva (Maja Lehrer) are complete opposites who both want to escape their compound during a zombie outbreak in Germany. Thrown together by chance, they journey to the next city where a cure is rumored to be in the works. On the way, they discover lessons about loyalty, grief and regret as well as Mother Nature’s agenda for a new world.

Vieweg’s script closely follows the graphic novel, but what struck me most about Endzeit is how well Kohlhof and Lehrer portray Vivi and Eva. Both characters suffer from the trauma of the outbreak, but they express it quite differently. Their character development is well done and Kohlhof and Lehrer shine with surprisingly realistic portrayals in a film filled with fantastical moment within a bleak situation. Scenes including Vivi’s visions of her missing sister, and the foliage sprouting from some of the infected provides the film a fantasy angle, softening the horror.

Lush landscapes of the gorgeous German countryside are captured by cinematographer Leah Striker in an ethereal fashion that defies the grunge of a typical zombie film. This allows the film to get its environmental message across as well. What is also unique with Endzeit is that it is a female driven production, from the main characters to the entire crew. This shouldn’t be a defining factor (sadly, it’s not the norm yet) but there is a sensibility and point of view that can’t be ignored. It’s a welcomed perspective and one horror fans need to check out.

Friday, September 7, 10 PM, Scotiabank Theatre
Sunday, September 9, 7:30 PM, Scotiabank Theatre
Friday, September 14, 3:15 PM, Scotiabank Theatre