Set in a future which hasn’t seen rainfall in years, The Last Survivors sees young Kendal and her brother Dean survive in the ruins of the orphanage where they grew up. They have one of the few working wells in the area and must fiercely protect their water supply from those who wander through.
However, a man called Carson has taken control of the main water supply and Is systematically draining all the wells and murdering the homesteaders left in the valley, and its only a matter of time before Kendal and Dean’s well is discovered…
Watching The Last Survivors, aka The Well, can be a bit too introspective at times but when it matters, the movie delivers on the action promised.
The film paints a very bleak and barren landscape – it hasn’t rained for years, the ground is scorched and the local water table is running dry. Scavengers roam the desert looking for water. Kendra is the main protagonist, hunting and trying to scavenge parts, in particular a distributor cap which will fit a Cessna plane they have hidden. She also helps out a young boy called Alby who lives on his own. Her brother, Dean, is suffering from kidney failure and his health is fading.
When Kendal attends a funeral at a local homestead, she learns of Carson’s promise of shelter for those willing to join his compound. However, Carson and his men arrive and murder everyone. She barely manages to escape but not before killing one of Carson’s men in a quick but neatly choreographed fight scene.
The Last Survivors full movie plays out like a fantasy Western, but with long periods of no dialogue. The cinematography for the most part nails the sparse mood but one sequence, when Carson’s men try to smoke out Kendal and Dean, doesn’t work. The reason it doesn’t work is the decision to utilize the natural light, leaving the scene too dark to decipher.
There’s a lot to enjoy here but it does require a little patience on the viewer as there are long periods of introspection as Kendal checks the flow of the well, or cares for Dean and Alby. However the little action beats become more and more frequent as the threat of being discovered by Carson or attacked by strangers gets larger, leading to a very satisfying showdown.
Haley Lu Richardson was only about 17 at the time of filming and this was her full movie in the lead role (she is currently starring opposite Big Bang Theory’s Melissa Rauch in the acclaimed comedy, The Bronze). There are long passages which just follow the main characters around as she searches for food and the all-important distributor cap, and she carries the film with aplomb. She also makes the small bouts of action look natural. These scenes are short and to the point, not overly drawn out bouts of martial arts. However the choreography on show really works, Haley looks the part without having to rely on quick edits.
Patience is rewarded in watching The Last Survivors free online. The start is slow, as we get a feel for Kendal and Dean’s world, before Carson steps in with his goons and starts to systematically tear it down. The action is short and to the point, but when it comes, it’s so professionally staged and executed that fans of the genre won’t fail to be impressed.