If, of course, there is a next move. Daughter Mia is on a rickety life support machine and it’s looking like it’s only a matter of time before she turns into one of the zombies who are slowly reducing the already sparse population of the non-infected. Son Josh (Danny Ruiz) is trying his best to be like his action man dad Ethan (Jason Tobias, who co-wrote and co-directed with Geoff Reisner) but can’t pull the trigger when faced with the slavering undead. As for Joe herself, she’s none too happy with the decisions Ethan is making and is thinking the best course of action may be for the two of them to part company.
So far, so doomy. Things don’t get any better when marauders led by the grizzled Desiree Morrow (Susan Moore Harmon) come a-calling, using human shields to gain entry to the place, leading to a shootout which results in a stand-off between a wounded Desiree and Joe and a mission for Ethan and Desiree’s son Lincoln (Justin Dray) to pick up the supplies everyone needs at a nearby camp.
In spite of its inability to throw money at the screen, the first act still manages to create the image of a world gone wild with some pleasingly scuzzy locations and gruesome touches such as the scarecrow-like bodies strung up outside the Allister’s place as a warning to anyone with looting on their minds. The action’s well staged too, the fights and gunplay clearly defined and impactful in terms of feeling the blows and the bullets.
Unfortunately, once the film settles into the main thrust of the plot, it all becomes far less interesting. The story flits between the battle of wills between Joe and Desiree, the Westernesque quest of Ethan to do what a man’s gotta do (complete with unwilling accomplice) and various flashbacks to fill in some more of the blanks as to how we got here in the first place, which takes the urgency out of the situation somewhat.
This is a genuine shame as the performances, in general, are rather decent but the script doesn’t always serve the acting talent on display. Miller and Harmon snarl effectively at each other and there’s the expected back and forth about who the real bad guys might be depending on your point of view but this, like so much else in FEAR, slows the proceedings down until the film can finally play its cannibalistic trump card and character arcs can be satisfied.
At 101 minutes, it’s overstretched. There’s nothing wrong with allowing the tale to breathe and to give the players their opportunity to shine but the philosophising could almost certainly have been trimmed without losing any of its point. We also get a sappy, overlong bar scene in which Joe and Ethan meet as if they’re not already a married couple and an ending which loses some of its drama by the very fact that it over eggs the final showdown, topped with a comeback for one of the characters which offsets at least some of the previous gloominess but also feels a little unearned.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t good ideas here but they’re often undone by the sluggish pacing, the lack of a budget to create any genuinely striking set-pieces or dialogue which is a little too on the nose to land as effectively as it could. Did I hear a line from Aliens towards the end? Nice nod, and it fits the scene, but reminding me of one of the greatest sci-fi horror movies ever perhaps wasn’t the greatest idea when attempting to keep the viewer focused on the climax.
To have a film grab me for its first twenty-five minutes and then steadily lose me over the rest of it was incredibly frustrating and I spent a lot of that time hoping it would pull something special out to win me back but Forget Everything And Run ultimately left me wondering what might have been with a little more cash to play with and a slightly less ponderous script. There’s little wrong with the vision and the ambition but as an action horror it’s short of the mark, despite some neatly mounted skirmishes and the odd queasy chill.