There’s a phrase that was going around a lot last year: “apocalypse fatigue.” It referred to the fact that audiences have been barraged by so many cinematic visions of bleak, post-apocalyptic futures that the things that made that sort of story interesting have been seriously diluted. Just think about how many 2013 shows and movies involved an apocalypse, or the aftermath of an apocalypse: Walking Dead, Revolution, Oblivion, World War Z, After Earth…Hollywood just can’t get enough of the end of the world. But with audiences spending so much time experiencing doomsday, it’s increasingly hard to come up with a clever idea of how to do a “new” apocalypse story. And even if you do, your head might explode.
At least that’s the concept behind the funny short up top, dubbed simply The Apocalypse. It premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, and you might recognize actor Martin Starr, of Freaks and Geeks/Party Down fame, as one of the ill-fated friends. The Apocalypse follows in the footsteps of Shaun of the Dead or This Is the End by having a group of normal people suddenly faced with an apocalyptic outbreak — in this case, one where people’s heads keep exploding. And without even any Slim Whitman to be heard.
The Apocalypse is a great example of how a good idea (pop!) can be explored just the right amount in a brief span of time. I’m sure writer/director Andrew Zuchero could have expanded this idea — that ideas are literally blowing everybody’s minds — into a feature-length script, but it doesn’t need to be. The Apocalypse is more of a joke than a short story, so the goal is to get to the punchline in a funny, concise way, and Zuchero’s short does that really well. And I do love the idea that ignorance really is bliss, and that the simple will inherit the earth. Hell, you could almost interpret this as an Idiocracy prequel. Wait, maybe this isn’t fiction after all…
Zuchero doesn’t have any current projects listed on his IMDb page, but hopefully we’ll see more from him in the future. In the meantime, here’s another short he co-directed: the intriguingly titled Otto and the Electric Eel.