The End of the World

Two Londoners struggle to survive a very prosaic alien invasion.

Genre: Comedy

Length: 04:59

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3 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Stephan Nielsen,

Director/s : Stephan Nielsen, 

Writer/s : Stephan Nielsen, 

Actor/s : Sophie Stockwell, Lauren Mills


Paradise when?

Two sisters, paranoid – or just plain terrified – of the crumbling world outside their flat. It’s hard to reveal more without spoiling the twist, theme, and message. Suffice to say that it uses the genre to make a satirical point, a trusted movie trope.

Mind you, it’s ambiguous exactly which genre The End of the World belongs to. A comedy, in that it gets pretty ridiculous towards the end (deliberately so). But until then, there aren’t enough gags to orientate us. It hints at being a zombie-apocalypse, before settling down as an alien invasion thing.

Writer/director/producer Stephan Neilsen has recently made a series documenting his exploration of spirituality, mindfulness and yoga. He started this off as a curious sceptic, and goodness knows where he ended up after delving into naked yoga and shamanistic spirit hunting, not to mention spiritual bdsm. I’ve only watched the trailer, but it’s a shame that the flair, quirkiness and humour on show there didn’t traverse across to this short.

The direction is rather static, and without light relief, the script suffers from wordiness. The sisters and their flat are way too neat for the apocalypse to convince, so there’s no sense of peril – taps not working isn’t enough, for all that the point returns neatly for the punchline. The actors try, but aren’t given enough to work with. For every “So I’ll die drinking your sweaty bathwater” line to relish, there’s a “You’re my sister and I love you” clunker they need to breathe life into. In short, the film’s execution doesn’t serve the idea as well as it might, for want of more humour, intrigue or dread.

Still, it’s a pleasant enough diversion, and the satire definitely hits home. A little unfulfilled potential isn’t the end of the world.