Review: The Last of Us Fan Film

The Last of Us Fan Film, Pictures courtesy of Iron Horse Cinema Productions
‘The Last of Us Fan Film’, Pictures courtesy of Iron Horse Cinema Productions, taken by Eugene Lin, ‘The Last of Us’ logo belongs to Naughty Dog / Sony

First of all: I’m not a gamer girl. Well, I wouldn’t mind if I where – the contrary is the case with me. But I just never really started to play computer games. I do it now and then, never truly successfully.
But as everybody knows: I’m into good stories. And a few games have great stories. Just as ‘The Last of Us’. When I first heard of it and saw the first screen-shots of the characters I knew that I wanted to know, what this was all about. Zombies? The apocalypse? Viral infection?
I wasn’t sure about anything, just wanted to give the game a chance of surprising me. I started to watch one of the walk-throughs on Youtube. And bam – I couldn’t stop watching. 45 videos, around 14 hours of watching material. The story totally captivated me. OK, I fast-forwarded some of the fighting scenes to get along with the story.

After 14 hours suffering and hoping with the main characters I reflected on their development throughout the story. Asked myself if Joel would have acted the way he did at the end, when the story began. Asked myself, whether Ellie just wanted to believe his lie or he really was the one and only person she trusted.
And I ended up asking myself, if somebody had already claimed the movie rights for this diamant among video games (not judging other games though, too few experience). I searched online and voila – I found this precious little thing:

Yes, this is a film – a short, but impressive one.
Look at the locations! Just look! They really draw you into the story. Many places look exactly the same as they did in the video game. And yet they still have a magic of their own about them. They truly appear post-apocalyptic. I wonder where these beautiful and enchanted places can be found. πŸ™‚

But locations alone don’t make a good movie. It takes all the small (and sometimes bigger) things to get it together and to make a whole out of it. Just like actors, make-up, camera work etc.

The two protagonists are portrayed by Jeff Moffitt (Joel) and Kate McLeod (Ellie). The resemblance between the actors and their video game equivalents is astonishing. But not only the looks count, it’s also about the portrayal in a whole.
And that’s brilliant. The viewer can sense the exhaustion of Joel and his will to survive. He has seen too much to allow himself to be softer. He knows, that he can’t afford that. I like the shot, in which Ellie and Joel discuss the quarantine zones, where he gives away a part of his past.

Ellie on the other hand is portrayed quite well as the young woman, who wants to be helpful and who at the same time wishes to have at least a little bit of a ‘normal’ youth. Especially the look on her face, when she discovers the ‘Twilight’ movie poster is awesome. Describing more than words could.

The supporting roles rocked the film as well. Especially the Runner (Erica Hammond) and the Clicker (Sammy Mena) impressed me. They’re one of the reasons I’m not sure, if I could watch a whole movie longer than 14 minutes. I’d be afraid of Runners and Clickers coming after me afterwards… πŸ™‚

And that brings me directly to the Make-Up Department (Lexan Rosser). Awesome job. The Clicker looked exactly like the ones in the game. Just more realistic. And frightening. Wow, just wow!

The director Sy Cody White and his co-director Nick Sgroi did a great job on that one. Frantic shots, when needed. Close-Ups to emphasize communication and emotion.

So to put it in a nutshell: Iron Horse Cinema Productions has managed to bring Ellie and Joel to life – their personalities, their environment, their problems. Just fantastic!
It’s pretty close to the game itself, but has its differences, too.
These 14 minutes portray the characters of The Last of Us and their problems very well, including their development, which unfortunately cannot be presented as complex as it is possible in a movie of 1 1/2 hours or a game play of 14 hours.

I’d like to see more of them and their interpretation of ‘The Last of Us’. If you do, too, you can support their crowdfunding project on IndieGogo: Sequel.
Every dollar counts! πŸ™‚

Wanna see more stills or backstage photos? Check out the Facebook page of the film ‘The Last of Us Fan Film‘.

Thank you for the viewing pleasure everyone! Keep up the fantastic work, guys!
(Credits: Jeff Moffitt, Kate McLeod, Sy Cody White, Nick Sgroi, Mike Sgroi, Eugene Lin, Jason Lee Hess, Harrison Ndubueze, Rich Sabitino, David Klein, Steven Komito, Mark Alessio, Sammy Mena, Erica Hammond, Lexan Rosser, Jose Grafals, Madeline Rivera)



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