Directed by Mike P. Nelson, this post-apocalyptic horror film stars Blue Crush and Superman Returns’ Kate Bosworth and 7th Heaven’s Tyler Hoechlin.
The two play Mark and Nina, an estranged married couple who travel through a dystopic and dangerous America in order to get to a possible safe haven. This happens due to a chemical weapon attack that kills a majority of the population, leaving only those with resistant genes to survive. Unlike plenty of other post-apocalyptic films however, The Domestics keeps distance from zombie hordes or the like, instead focusing on the monstrosity that lurks within the human race.
The remaining populace divide themselves into murderous gangs that ravage the land. Often violent and murderous, these factions dictate their own rules and laws within their territories, posing to be the biggest threat to Mark and Nina. These factions include “The Gamblers”, animal-mask wearing hicks who use other humans as “players” in betting games, which often cost the players’ life. “The Plowers”, “The Sheets”, and “The Nailers” are gangs who often hunt for women. While “The Cherries” consist of an all-women tribe whose main goal is to wipe men from the remains of civilization. The rest of the humans who don’t decide to join a faction are called Domestics — and while few and far in between, Domestics prove to be crucial in the survival of Mark and Nina.
Filled with vicious and well-staged action, The Domestics keeps an energetic pace that keeps audiences entertained and at the edge of their seats. However, the twist truly comes with each faction’s unique character and look, allowing viewers to almost have a roller coaster of villains to experience and fear. Colourful and never-endingly savage, The Domestics impresses with practical effects that lends itself well to the genre. The film never feels lazy and cheap, which truly immerses audiences into its kooky and cutthroat world.
At the heart of The Domestics however is the relationship between husband and wife. Starting off at the brink of a divorce, Mark and Nina are both changed throughout the course of this perilous journey. The emotional turbulence that comes with the constant threat of death allows the two to truly lean on each other and examine their relationship. Amidst crumbling civilizations and lawless lands, both Bosworth’s and Hoechlin’s performances preserve a sense of humanity in the film.
Both critics and viewers heavily compare The Domestics to legendary favourites such as The Walking Dead and Mad Max in terms of theme and tone, but still praise it for bringing its own unique flavour to the mix. A satisfyingly gruesome film with inventive antagonists and authentic leads, director Mike P. Nelsons’ directorial debut finds a resounding success in The Domestics.
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