Among the Living (2022) poster

Among the Living (2022)


UK. 2022.


Director/Screenplay – Rob Worsey, Producers – Kate Humphries, Oliver Mitchell & Rob Worsey, Photography – Jordan Lee, Music – Mitch Gardner, Production Design – Carly Brown & Kaileigh Ellison. Production Company – Relic Films.


Dean Michael Gregory (Harry), George Newton (Karl), Melissa Worsey (Lily), Leon Worsey (Tom), Emily Rose Holt (May), Gary Stead (Jack), Alexander King (Sean), Steven Anthony (The Infected)


Harry and his adolescent sister Lily wander through the countryside in the aftermath of the collapse of society, camping outdoors and searching for supplies. The world is overrun by people that have become zombified and are drawn to attack by the slightest spilling of blood. Lily injures her ankle as they flee one of these attacks. Harry then encounters Karl who agrees to grant them shelter until Lily is able to walk again. All the time, the Infected lurk not far away.

Rob Worsey is a filmmaker in the north of England who runs a freelance video-production service. Worsey had previously made several short films and Among the Living was his full-length debut. Worsey shot the film around towns like Leeds and Whitby. The two children in the film are played by Worsey’s younger sister and brother, Melissa and Leon. The film was shot in the midst of the 2020 UK Corona Virus pandemic.

On one level, Among the Living is nominally a Zombie Film. The Infected exhibit all the symptoms of zombies, stumbling about, mindlessly drawn to attack and feed upon humans, while one can become infected and turned into their kind (although the means of transmission is not made clear). On the other hand, the infected are not interested in devouring flesh but are drawn by blood, which makes them more into Vampires that just happen to act like zombies.

The film makes a big thing about how The Infected can be drawn by the slightest shedding of any blood – the solution to which seems to be covering wounds in masking tape. Rob Worsey seems to have readily modelled this on the recent hit of A Quiet Place (2018) in which survivors lived in terror of attack by creatures that would appear if they made the slightest sound. My complaint would be that it feels like the film needs more explanation about what exactly its creatures are and how they are created or the infection transmitted. This is especially the case when it comes to a tough scene later in the film where a girl (Emily Rose Holt) is begging Dean Michael Gregory to kill her before she turns.

Harry (Dean Michael Gregory) and his sister Lily (Melissa Worsey) wander the post-apocalyptic landscape in Among the Living (2022)
Harry (Dean Michael Gregory) and his sister Lily (Melissa Worsey) wander the post-catastrophic landscape

As it opened, I really liked Among the Living. Rob Worsey has done a fantastic job of shooting natural scenery to achieve both a pastoral look and a feel of a world abandoned by humanity. There is an appealing naturalism to the dialogue and relationship in the scenes of Dean Michael Gregory and sister Melissa Worsey wandering through the landscape. This is abruptly turned on its head as a man (Gary Stead) appears waving his arms and we see people in a car turn up and grab a woman, before fleeing in fear – “she’s bleeding” – and The Infected appear to devour her. Quite what is going on at this point is intriguing – it is certainly a strong opening for a film. That and the subsequent scene between Dean Michael Gregory and the mute Gary Stead around a campfire, which is drawn with a terse effectiveness in the way the two communicate despite the lack of any speech.

The film continues to work well with the introduction of George Newton’s Karl and the way we see a trust start to grow as Newton accepts David Michael Gregory into his home and in particular the friendship that quickly develops between the two children. There is a nice balance between Newton’s practical-mindedness and Gregory’s naiveté and over-cautious protection of his sister.

On the other hand, I didn’t particularly like the ending the film arrived at. [PLOT SPOILERS] David Michael Gregory discovers that George Newton has killed both Tom’s mother and Jack, the deaf man he met earlier. Finding this unpalatable, he chains Karl up inside the cabin and lets one of The Infected in, while walking off into the sunset with the two children. On the other hand, to play devil’s advocate, there is no proof that Karl actually killed either of these people while they were still human. If either of them had become Infected or was in the process of doing so, then might it not be possible that these were either mercy killings, as the girl David Michael Gregory encounters earlier begs him to do, or the practical-mindedness of eliminating the very real threat posed by The Infected. It seems that Gregory makes a lot of assumptions about what Karl’s motivations were here. Not to mention that it leaves you uncertain about the guarantee of survival of the children in the hands of someone who seems awfully queasy about the business of killing when he has to. You can only feel that a show like The Walking Dead (2010-22), which deals with these moral grey areas in the way that some people do push-ups before they have breakfast, would have had a field day with such a quandary.

Trailer here

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