If you are a fan of Roger Corman, you might be familiar with his film 'The Day The World Ended.'
This review isn't about that.
Instead, we will be looking at 'In The Year 2889,' a remake brought to the screen by notorious hack Larry Buchanan.
A nuclear war has decimated life on Earth. A few people living in the Rocky Mountains may have avoided the worst of the radiation, but have they avoided all of the danger?
John Ramsey (Neil Fletcher) is very protective of his twenty-something daughter, Joanna (Charla Doherty). Joanna wonders what happened to her fiancee, Larry. Ever since the bombs went off, Larry hasn't been seen or heard from. Still, she holds out hope. John is a crazy ex-veteran, so he has been preparing for this day for quite some time.
As tends to happen, outsiders find the Ramseys' cabin and seek shelter. After debate, they are allowed in. These poor people are: Granger (Max Anderson), his younger brother Steve (Paul Petersen), Jada (Quinn O'Hara), and Mickey (Hugh Feagin). Granger is horribly burned by the radiation and seems to be undergoing some changes while Mickey is a borderline sociopath who wants to take control of the group.
With a dynamic like this, what could possibly go wrong?
Don't forget the full-blown mutants who are wandering around in the distance.
It's a simple premise with plenty of opportunity to be halfway decent. No one expects huge effects. The interesting thing with these kinds of stories is the deteriorating sanity/relationships among the unaffected humans. Raise the stakes by having a shortage of supplies, an unforgiving environment, some unpredictable characters and the vague threat of creatures in the woods. This is interchangeable with most zombie stories, but those are most of the elements needed for some degree of success. All of the pieces are somewhat there but they just don't come together.
Shouldn't a movie with this title be a little more futuristic? It is clearly a product of the '60s though the plot says it is set in the '70s and the title claims to involve the distant future. Some limitations are explained away by setting this is a cabin in the woods. Still, it has the look of something that was filmed by a few amateur friends over a weekend in their backyard.
From a technical standpoint, the film is a mess. The audio rarely syncs up with the actors' mouths which gives the impression that this is a foreign film. It is not. If you value good acting, editing, special effects and filming, you are also out of luck.
There are some nifty sketches describing the horrible animals which have resulted from tampering with radiation. Foreshadowing, anyone?
If you want to see 'In The Year 2889,' just watch 'The Day The World Ended.' You'll get the same story, a little shorter, and you can actually tell people that you saw it without feeling quite as ashamed.
How often do cheap Roger Corman films receive favorable comparisons? Perhaps only when compared to their even cheaper remakes.
Add an extra half star to the rating.
Not rated 80 minutes 1967