New Order Review

by CTbrthrhd

Here’s another movie which seems more deserving of a sci-fi categorization than horror. This isn’t to say that New Order is a bad movie – far from it. Just don’t pop this movie in and expect a slasher to be ripping off someone’s arm and beating them with it or a demon murdering a family of religious zealots. You will not find that in this film. Instead, expect a rather well-done indie flick that seems to have a pretty firm grasp on the concept of a dreary dystopian future.

Set in the year 2033, New Order begins with a blurb informing the audience of a deadly virus outbreak so severe that it caused world powers to use chemical and biological weapons against each other. This is followed by a monologue of sorts from Doctor Van Morgen – one of the last remaining humans on earth. Van Morgen discusses a variety of topics, including the outbreak and, consequently, man’s thirst for knowledge.

After this, we are introduced first to Robert through the means of a handheld camera which is being operated by Mark. Robert is professor who is trying to get some calculations done but Mark, who is younger and a bit less serious, wants to film a documentary of sorts. Mark eventually gets the professor to relent and give him a tour of the house they are residing in.

It seems as though a lot of attention was paid to detail in this movie. Every necessity was thought of and none of it is really that far-fetched. Robert shows Mark a myriad of items that are keeping them all alive and comfortable given their current circumstances. They have a water reserve with enough water to last at least one and a half years, solar paneling to provide electricity and lighting, even a barn with cows, sheep and other livestock. It’s during the discussion of the barn that we meet Betty and learn that she is in charge of all of the animals.

The tour continues through the library and into the living room. This is Alice’s introduction. Alice is sorting canned goods by expiration date. The viewer learns here that in order to survive, group members must make trips into the old cities to gather supplies. Alice is a bit worried as winter is approaching and supplies are limited.

Next on the tour is the kitchen, followed by the engine room. The engine room is where all of the solar energy is collected. Of course, solar energy alone isn’t enough to fully power the engines, so the engines are also equipped to use alternate fuel sources, such as wood. Again, this is the type of detail I thoroughly appreciate in a movie of this type. Moving on from the engine room, we are introduced to the last member of our group, Thomas.

Up to this point in the movie, I was confused as to why it seemed as though a lot of the footage was from the first person perspective of each of the members of the group. While I thought it was an interesting idea, at times I found it to be a bit tough discerning whose eyes I was looking through. The reason behind this is explained by Dr. Van Morgen in the next scene. He has developed a chip that monitors the vital organs of the person it is installed in as well as allowing for someone else (Van Morgen) to see what they are seeing in real time from a remote location. Since the chips are installed on all five of his test subjects this explains the consistent use of the characters’ points of view. This was honestly a really clever concept.

From here, we watch the group as they lead their daily lives. The Dr. has recommended making video diaries in order for them to cope with everything that has happened. Mixed in with the group eating dinner together and meditating, we also see bits of Alice’s diary, Mark’s diary and even Thomas’s diary. New Order really does a phenomenal job at creating a bleak atmosphere which is thinly veiled by the group’s attempt at optimism.

This is not to say that everyone in the group is totally agreeable with each other. Robert and Thomas argue about whether or not to bring a gun into town. Alice’s video diary reveals that she has issues with Mark acting childish. Even Betty rebukes Thomas’s advances which causes him to storm off. Having such a small cast in the movie really seems to allow for character build up like this and it works very well here. Disagreements and minor annoyances with others is fundamental human nature which isn’t often properly captured within the confines of a ninety minute movie. New Order does a great job of breaking out of that mold and this is due in large part to the acting. Aside from the Dr. Van Morgen (who sometimes seems a bit like a more comical Walter White), the cast really pulls you in to their dismal situation.

Slowly, each member of the group appears to be experiencing issues in some way. During a group meditation Alice begins to hyperventilate, then starts speaking in tongues but later has no recollection of the event. This grows progressively worse, culminating in Alice screaming in the kitchen and subsequently scaring the crap out of Betty. Alice isn’t the only one being affected but is the only one outwardly showing any signs of distress. None of the others will openly admit to each other that they are also experiencing some sort of odd effects. As a result, their despondency over their individual situations causes them to act more and more erratic. One by one, this group of Earth’s last survivors begins to diminish while the doctor watches on helplessly. Will he get there in time to save any of them?

While New Order really doesn’t seem properly classified as a horror movie, it’s still a good movie nonetheless. There were many opportunities for this film to fail but thankfully everyone involved did an excellent job of sidestepping them and bringing life to a very creative idea. In an age where movies displaying futures of less than desirable circumstances are a dime a dozen, New Order does a great job of creating its own footprint.

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