Horror Movie Review: Population Zero (2016)

Population Zero is not exactly your conventional horror movie. It’s not got monsters, ghosts, gore or even casual female nudity. Instead it’s part documentary dealing with a horrific crime. How a killer got off with a minor sentence for possession of a firearm. All with a underlining environmental message.

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A found footage (sort of), Population Zero is a fascinating tale of the perfect crime. The way in which it builds to its reveal is fantastically done.

Inspired by the ‘Zone of Death’ inside the Yellowstone National Park the movie sees a documentary maker (Julian T. Pinder) wanting to uncover the truth behind a crime that shocked a nation. A crime that was quickly & suspiciously buried by the US government. Initially fascinated with just how the crime played out & what drove the killer to murder. However it becomes clear that not everything is as straightforward as it seems.

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The further he digs, the more obstacles seem to get in his way. People begin to refuse to talk to him even though earlier they were more then happy to share their knowledge. Frustrations boil over between the documentary maker & his cameraman especially when they realise they’re being followed.

Who is trying to hide the truth of what took place within the ‘zone of death’ & why?

Population Zero is a fascinating movie. Well acted & well filmed as the style of the ‘found-footage’ makes it far more enjoyable to watch. It truly does feel as though you’re watching a documentary. Anyone expecting monsters, jump scares, blood & gore are best looking elsewhere. This is a psychological horror, one that deals with true crime. A man’s lack of remorse & his lack of motives. It also looks at the evil that comes from big corporations not caring about the value of human life.

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There is an environmental message in Population Zero. It sets up the finale with a final revelation that, while interesting, does seem a bit forced in. Where the movie trips up is with its finale, it’s a disappointing & rushed ending that doesn’t really satisfy. It requires a serious amount of convenience & it’s a bit silly to believe that no-one else, beside this documentary maker, would have managed to piece together a motive behind this mystery especially considering its high profile nature.

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At 84 minutes long, Population Zero doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Its eerie setup is very memorable. You’ll be thinking & talking about it long afterwards, debating the actual possibility of such a crime taking place.

Population Zero
  • The Final Score - 7/10
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