It’s the End of the World as we know it. Again. But this time, instead of nuclear war, peak oil, disease or zombie apocalypse, the mechanism of our passing has been left rather ambiguous. Women seem to have become extinct, technology’s non-existent and some people have turned a bit, well…feral. The World is winding down, fading away, not with a bang but with a whimper. Certainly no one’s driving around in tricked-out dune buggies with guitar playing, flamethrower wielding gimps strapped to the bonnet – Tear Me Apart’s just not that kind of End of the World flick. 

In an isolated cave by the sea, two nameless Scottish brothers, Older (Frazer Alexander) and Younger (Alfie Stewart), barely survive, existing hand-to-mouth, trapping rabbits and fishing and hiding from the raiding parties that roam the countryside, Younger supplementing his diet by murdering and eating the occasional unwary passer-by, much to Older’s annoyance. 

Older vaguely remembers the times before the end, tells Younger, who was born after, stories of the wonderful, inexplicable things he remembers; going to school, women, their mother, trying to preserve their humanity until their absent father (whose rules for survival they follow religiously) can return for them. It’s been years but he is coming back. Isn’t he? 

Then they capture a young woman, Molly (Jennie Eggleton), perhaps the last young woman in the world and the only one Younger has ever seen, has ever touched. As jealousy, sexual tension and biological imperatives bubble to the surface, threatening the brothers’ bond, Molly also brings with her tales of a wider world beyond the beach, one that challenges the disciplined strictures the brothers live by, awakening a curiosity about the outside world in Younger. But in this desperate world gone wild, Molly is a prize others will kill for… 

A Post-Apocalyptic Cannibal Romance, Tear Me Apart is definitely catering to a niche audience. Closer to this year’s The Survivalist than last year’s masturbatory Mad Max: Fury Road, the film is a quiet, austere, melancholy elegy for a lost world that goes light on the gore without shying away from the stark brutality of this brave new world, creating a palpable atmosphere of dread from it’s opening murder. 

Tom Kerevan’s script is tight, spare, the central triumvirate of shifting relationships reminiscent of The World, The Flesh And The Devil or Roger Corman’s Last Woman On Earth, while Alex Lightman’s vision of the future highlights the lush beauty of the coast where it feels like the protagonists could create an almost idyllic haven if only they had the knowledge and tools to farm and cultivate the land, weren’t so dependent on meat only, one incident where the malnourished Younger becomes ill after Molly feeds him foraged fruit illustrating just how ill-equipped the brothers are to survive. Though they are supposed to be Scottish so it makes sense that even after the apocalypse and facing starvation, they’d still avoid fruit and veg. 

As the older, more capable brother, Frazer Alexander brings just the right amount of strength and zealotry to his role, his clay feet increasingly obvious as his younger sibling is seduced not only by the first woman he’s ever encountered but by the concept that there might be more to life than living in a cave and eating anyone you can catch. As the younger, more primal brother, wandering accent aside, Alfie Stewart’s naïve, savage innocent is sympathetic and ambiguous, a true child of this new age, his violent hunger never far from the surface. In a role that could have, and arguably should have, been more exploitative, Jennie Eggleton’s fresh-faced, pretty plainness lacks the earthy sensuality needed to manipulate the brothers, her character is almost as much of an innocent as the younger brother, embodying a hope and faith in the future that may ultimately be empty. 

While it skimps on the raw, nakedly commodified sexuality of a film like The Survivalist or Le Dernier Combat, could’ve done with a bit more gore and a lot more humour (why doesn’t A Boy And His Dog get more love), Tear Me Apart is a thoughtful, surprisingly hopeful, Post-Apocalyptic Cannibal Romance.

 

Movie Review: Tear Me Apart
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

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