Not a Movie Snob - Chrysalis

Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 04:00 PM

CIFF 2014 Review: Chrysalis

Review by X Griffintainment

A couple make their way through a desolate city ruins. Blown out buildings sit in their empty skeletons, steel and concrete bones protruding out and reaching for the snowy landscape. The couple is dirty, tired, anxious. Mismatched clothes stacked upon their bodies to provide warmth and perhaps protection. They carry weapons, the guy, a sledgehammer, the girl, an axe. At the end of their day, a day spent scouring the area for useful objects or, if they get lucky, food, they cuddle up and read from a book, write in a journal and try their best to pretend they’re somewhere else.

This is Chrysalis. A horror film in the new subgenre of horror films that used to be known simply as zombie movies, but are now more affectionately termed, infected movies. The idea being that the undead of yore, of the type invented by George Romero, have been replaced by the virus attacked blood of today. Popularized by films like 28 Days Later and more recently World War Z. The type of infection where you don’t even need to die to become a flesh hungry monstrosity.

Sure, they look like zombies. They lumber and groan and have a taste for human…anything, but they aren’t zombies. Zombies aren’t cool anymore. Zombies have a cheesy connotation attached to them. “They’re coming to get you, Barbara” and popping out of graves and morgues has been replaced by neo terrorist viral attacks on metropolitan populations that transform the otherwise fit and healthy into, well, zombies (let’s just call them what they are).

In Chrysalis, Joshua and Penelope make their way through post apocalyptic America, fending off the infected hordes and picking up wayward travellers with potentially deadly secrets of their own. And that’s about all there is to it. It’s a well made film, director John Klein does a lot with his probably minuscule budget and he has a great eye (he’s been a short film cinematographer for nearly ten years). Which helps to offset the banal, overly familiar story and setting with interesting shots and inventive angles.

It’s not exactly scary, but there are moments of tension and the typical gory action that you’d expect to find in the this sort of film. And most of the acting is good, although one particular cast member struggles with the more emotional moments.

Chrysalis is probably most influenced by the show The Walking Dead. It has the look, the feel. It has the emphasis on the interaction of the characters over the interaction with the zombies. It never reaches that show’s creative heights, but it also doesn’t have the budget that show has, or the amount of time to develop the character arcs.

At the end of the day, this isn’t a film that is made to win anybody over to the zombie horror genre who isn’t already a fan. This is a fanboy film made for a fanboy audience and within those parameters, it works fine. You aren’t going to see anything you haven’t seen before, but occasionally, particularly within the zombie genre, that is just what people are looking for.

Chrysalis was screened at the Calgary International Film Festival 2014, in its Canadian premiere on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 @ 9:15pm at Globe Cinema. The encore screening is on Saturday, September 27, 2014 @ 1:00 pm at Globe Cinema


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to