3 stars
There is a lot to like about Zac Hilditch's apocalyptic drama. A tense, overheated production, eerie suburban landscapes, Nathan Phillips' gritty central performance and the astonishing presence of newcomer Angourie Rice.
There's also much that's resistible – a vicious undertone, gratuitous violence, a disappointing lack of likeable characters. Not that having hours left to live would put anyone in a good frame of mind, as James (Phillips – Wolf Creek) soon discovers. For there's no escaping this one, no Tom Cruise to jump in and save the day. A meteor has wiped out the northern hemisphere and the fallout is heading south. Perth residents are on borrowed time.

James is a routine boof-head in whom Phillips manages to invest some heart if not a sense of humour. The earnest tone is something that plagues These Final Hours though to be fair, this is hardly comedy central. It's a road trip to the end of the world which seems to ask, what would you do in the face of impending doom? In answering that question Phillips never really gets to shift out of first gear, a problem that Hilditch fails to address with all his characters except perhaps for James' Mum (Lynette Curran – Somersault). With a sly grin and a glass of chardonnay, she acts the rest of the cast off the screen.

Yet it's a small part of the greater picture. Hours earlier, James decides to abandon his girlfriend (Jessica De Gouw - Underbelly) to drive across town and party with his fiancee Vicky (Kathryn Beck – Not Suitable For Children). Fending off all manner of crazed and violent people, he stops to save a young girl about to become the victim of sexed up bogans. But rather than drop her off at Aunty Jean's as requested, he takes Rose (Rice) to the party where hundreds of drug addled revellers dance, fight and kill their way to Armageddon. Eventually the good lurking in James takes over, notably when Vicky has a sizeable meltdown and a psychotic woman (Sarah Snook – Sleeping Beauty) mistakes Rose for her own and gives her ecstasy. James re-prioritises, reversing back to his girlfriend via a pit stop at Mum's and then Aunty Jean's.

Hilditch does keep a cracking pace and this impressive calling card doesn't outstay its welcome, though it will test your resilience with everyone hell bent on destroying each other if not themselves. With exception to Rose and James' Mum, there's not a gentle soul to be found in the entire film. Misanthropic nihilism soon becomes exhausting, and just a little bit boring. It doesn't help that beyond the obvious, Hilditch is never really clear about what he's trying to say. If you've got hours left to live, make them count? I hope so, otherwise the other defining message was make sure you've stock piled a warehouse full of party drugs because you never know when the next meteor is going to land.


Previewed at Events Cinemas, George St, Sydney on 21 July 2014

Nathan Phillips
Angourie Rice
Lynette Curran
Kathryn Beck

Zac Hilditch

Zac Hilditch



87 minutes

July 31, 2014
These Final Hours (2013) on IMDb