Written by Ben Kurstin and directed by John Klein, Chrysalis tells the tale of a dystopian future set during the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Okay, technically it isn’t a “zombie” apocalypse, it’s more of an infection that turns people into flesh craving maniacs (it’s a zombie apocalypse in our book).
The film opens and we meet Joshua (played by Cole Simon) and Penelope (played by newcomer Sara Gorsky); a couple who wander the land, on the constant lookout for shelter and food. They ultimately come across a fellow survivor named Abira (played by Tanya Thai McBride). The three of them go on an expedition, looking for a supposed larger group that’s in the midst of building a new society.
One of the first things you’ll notice about this film is that it looks really good, especially for a smaller budget indie, the photography is quite beautiful. The film is set during the winter and the constant shots of our survivors trudging through the snow set the tone perfectly for this cold desolate future.
Also, the zombies (or the infected) look good as well, on par with anything you’re likely to see in any recent mainstream horror film. Speaking of zombies, don’t expect to see too many of them throughout the film. In fact don’t expect to see too much gore or violence in general. While the film is set during an apocalypse it isn’t really about that (and that’s not certainly not a bad thing). This film is more of an intimate story, dealing with these three characters as they spend this very short amount of time together. It’s less of an out and out zombie epic and more of a character study in a survival setting.
The actors all do fine jobs in their respective roles. During the very short amount of time we spend with them we get a pretty good sense of who they are and what they’re striving for. The heart of this film is the touching love story between Josh and Penelope. The newest member of their group, Abira comes across as both instantly likable and eerily suspicious.
Chrysalis is a breath of fresh air in an indie horror market that is beyond oversaturated with filmmakers who make movies simply because it doesn’t cost that much nowadays. The film doesn’t overstay its welcome, it tells its story and gets out at the perfect time. This isn’t to say the film doesn’t have its flaws. For instance, it does indulge in its fair share of lame jump scares and the obligatory sex scene comes completely out of nowhere (though it does admittedly, serve its purpose).
The ending of the film delivers a fairly interesting twist that you may not see coming. And just before the credits roll you’re surely to get a Sarah Connor in The Terminator vibe that will leave you wondering what the future holds.
Putting the actual story aside for a moment, this film is a huge win for independent horror film-making. The filmmakers took to KickStarter to raise the funds (they raised $35,772 with 372 backers) and this beautifully shot film is what came out of it. If you inspire to get into the film business, there is no longer an excuse or reason why you can’t make a truly great film outside of the studio system or without having a rich Uncle.
Similarly to Deadgirl, Dance Of The Dead, The Signal, Dead Snow, Versus, and Dead Set, Chrysalis is a zombie movie you probably haven’t seen, but totally should. Please watch this film!
**Chrysalis is available for digital download and On Demand HERE.