Dead Earth is a post-apocalyptic thriller following two women, Sylvia (played by Milena Gorum of The Driver) and Rose (played by Alice Tantayanon of The Driver) who have survived the initial zombie outbreak and have sought refuge in some sort of resort. Dead Earth is a pseudo origin story and/or sequel to The Driver, which is also about the zombie apocalypse. A lot of time has passed, so Sylvia and Rose are getting restless at their undisturbed existence. They constantly patrol the resort, ensuring that they are still safe, and carefully rationing resources. However, the only thing they cannot account for is the boredom they experience.
The first thing that stood out to me when watching Dead Earth was the fantastically awkward and forced relationship between Sylvia and Rose. These two characters have absolutely zero chemistry besides smiling at each other once in a while, but as a viewer I am supposed to believe they are somehow romantically involved? Now, as an LGBTQ+ person I am thrilled when I see LGBTQ+ representation on the screen, but Sylvia and Rose are one of the least believable lesbian couples I have ever seen. Their screen time felt like a screenwriter’s fantasy of a lesbian couple during the apocalypse. They barely look at each other, laugh together, or even seem like they genuinely like each other for the first part of the movie, but you want me to believe they have incredibly hot sex? Nope, I am not buying it. Further, during the sex scene, the camera is permanently fixated on their breasts. I wish I was kidding, there are other examples, but I’ll leave it at that.
Besides the unrealistic relationship dynamic, Sylvia and Rose have life surprisingly easy during the end of the world. Case in point: During the first act, they do yoga, go swimming, make art, watch movies, and read books in the cleanest post-apocalyptic environment I have ever seen. Which, by the way, has no good fencing or protection around it, yet I’m supposed to believe that all is well because they are just that vigilant? Hard pass. There is an initial scene where Sylvia is doing yoga and you can clearly see they are wide open from all sides and although this is a work of fiction, realizing they had no protection gave me a proverbial rash from the stress.
Oh and after the first two acts, Dead Earth finally decides to introduce zombies and background information regarding the unhappy couple that makes absolutely no sense. The end sequence just falls flat because Sylvia and Rose are not allowed to develop, there is nothing to cling to or be invested in, and then the film is just over. Also, the zombies make annoying animalistic sounds that I am sure will haunt my nightmares.
Dead Earth had so much potential to tell a different kind of story. Maybe I would have been more invested if I had seen The Driver, but sequels, prequels, and the like. should always be strong enough to stand on their own. This was a wasted opportunity for accurate LGBTQ+ representation, a break from typical zombie stories that just squandered the potential of a unique idea.
WICKED RATING: 2/10
Director(s): Wych Kaosayananda
Writer(s): Wych Kaosayananda, Steve Poirier
Stars: Milena Gorum, Alice Tantayanon, Brian Migliore
Release: January 28, 2020, DVD, Digital, and On Demand
Studio/ Production Co: Kaos Entertainment