'Jack's Apocalypse': Film Review

Courtesy of Jack's Apocalypse
An unconvincing redemption-though-disaster drama.

David Maldonado plays a drug addict staring down the end of the world in Will James Moore's ensemble drama.

A drug-addicted lout requires the collapse of civilization to get motivated to sober up in Jack's Apocalypse, an unconvincing end-times drama by Will James Moore. The pic's underwritten script is doubly uneventful given the bounty of imaginative apocalypse fantasies out there; commercial prospects are not good.

We meet David Maldonado's title character as he staggers around Austin, Texas' Sixth Street nightlife district, hitting on ladies with the sure-fire (and partly true) line, "I own this bar." Before long he's making gentle love to his new soulmate, or something like that, when he collapses from what seems to be a heart attack.

The next morning, though, it's as if that collapse didn't happen. Jack has much bigger problems, anyway: His brother, a military man, shows up to say the country is about to suffer a massive, debilitating attack. Jack is sent out to care for his niece and sister-in-law in a nearby small town. They're barely out of the blast zone when a mushroom cloud appears on the horizon.

Along with some familiar disaster-film complications (the little girl loses her insulin; overacting bad guys get curious about what Jack's crew has stockpiled), our hero is soon saddled with a bunch of fellow survivors, who sit around the cabin while he goes through withdrawal. Strangely, the team decides that their best chance of bartering successfully for food with nearby families is to make their own wine.

With his focus clearly on Jack as a broken man — we see frequent visions of his estranged son and hear about a long pattern of bad-boy behavior — it's clear that Moore cares more about soul-searching than genre kicks. But even once we accept that this will not be a batten-down-the-hatches standoff, Jack's Apocalypse holds few rewards. By comparison, Patricia Rozema's July release Into the Forest had a similarly loose connection to its post-apocalyptic backdrop, but the interpersonal dynamics between family members trapped in a house together were as gripping there as they are disposable here.

Distributor: Indie Rights
Production company: I Love That Dog Films
Cast: David Maldonado, Jamie Tisdale, Tishuan Scott, Nick Stevenson, Grover Coulson, Walter Womack, Kira Pozehl, Matthew James, David DeLao, Ashlea Rae
Director: Will James Moore
Screenwriters: Jonathan Case, Brad Montesi, Will James Moore
Producers: Matthew T. Johnston, Joe McCann, Stanley Moore, Anthony Pedone, Thomas C. Washmon
Executive producers: John Michael Measells, Will James Moore, Reagan Reaud, Austin Renfroe
Director of photography: Steve Acevedo
Production designer: Jonathan Case
Costume designer: Allann Campbell
Editors: Matthew T. Johnston, Will James Moore
Composers: Sanders Bohlke, Jonathan Ray Case
Casting director: Vicky Boone

Not rated, 80 minutes