Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – New Life

FrightFest review – New Life

Jessica (Hayley Erin), a bloodied young woman, has escaped from captivity and is making a run for the Canadian border – she’s resorted to breaking into houses, stealing food, hiding in the back of a flatbed truck, and violently resisting her captors but seems to be a civilian with only basic skills.  On her trail is Elsa Grey (Sonya Walger), a professional tracker working for sinister boss Raymond (Tony Amendola), who is dealing with the onset of ALS, a debilitating and incurable condition.

This might be Elsa’s last case, and she suspects she’s been assigned to it because there’s a high risk of her death and her boss presumes she has nothing to lose.  She’s been told that Jessica is a carrier of a pernicious form of Ebola, which might even be the truth – though a few good samaritans who cross her path (very good work from Ayanna Berkshire and Blaine Palmer) are struck with a bug which seems to have more in common with the made-up disease of 28 days later … than anything real, with the likelihood that it is indeed a made-up disease (brewed in a laboratory) and the urgency of preventing Jessica getting over the border isn’t just to save lives but to cover up unethical bioweapons activity.  Elsa notices that she has remote assistance from surveillance techs and computer guys but is the only op in the field, so she has to wonder how much Raymond has shared with the authorities.

The quarry has flashbacks which explain how she came to be Typhoid Mary of a potential psycho pandemic apocalypse while the hunter has episodes in which her growing infirmities trouble her.  Writer-director John Rosman tells a pared-down chase story with a lot of subdued humanity – it’s a rare outbreak movie in which the absence of threat from regular people becomes disturbing as we see well-intentioned folk dooming themselves by getting too close to Jessica rather than the gun-toting prepper fantasists who haunt this year’s Herd (another post-real pandemic take on the outbreak movie).  There’s a slight imbalance as Elsa gets to explore her own situation with an awful understanding of what’s happening whereas Jessica never quite understands – or refuses to understand – how deadly she’s become to the people around her.


Here’s the FrightFest listing.



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