Persistence pays off. Refuge began its infantile stage in 2013 and now, three years later, it’s currently on all VOD platforms through Gravitas Ventures. Despite what you may have heard, it’s difficult to find a worthwhile distribution deal, especially when you’re working with an independent horror title. You have to have something unique. You have to have something original. You have to have something that’s really going to speak to the audience. Refuge may not be completely original, but it is unique and it certainly grabs you by the balls and makes you feel a wide range of emotions. That’s a movie worth checking out, right?
Refuge is the narrative feature film debut from writer, producer and director Andrew Robertson. He created this title with the help of co-writer and co-producer Lilly Kanson. Cast members appearing in Refuge include Amy Rutberg (“Daredevil”), Chris Kies (HorrorCon), Carter Roy (Lovers Lane), Mark Ashworth (Curse of Blood Mountain), Sebastian Beacon, Eva Grace Kellner, Travis Grant and Joe Manus. Refuge tells the story of a family in the wake of a deadly and mysterious catastrophic virus that has brought America to its knees. A once thriving nation has now devolved into a lawless world of roaming gangs, desperately searching for dwindling supplies. Despite their attempt to remain hidden from the marauders, the family is ultimately discovered and is forced to fight for their lives.
I would love to begin my review with something that hasn’t been said before, but I really have to agree with anyone else who’s seen Refuge and say that it’s basically “The Walking Dead” without the zombies. Although, I found it more akin to video game “The Last of Us” due to the apocalypse being brought forth by a medicine resistant virus. A lot of the same themes are ever present: what will you do to survive, good guys vs bad guys, and the amount of hope left over when society crumbles. Refuge is definitely a film that keeps you entertained and enthralled as the story progresses and more unfortunate things happen to the main characters. You really can’t take a pee break here or you’ll miss something important or something thrilling.
Refuge was filmed in a way that was void of most bright colors, a thematic way of conveying the overall mood of the film. The areas in which they filmed are desolate, houses do look remarkably abandoned and all of the gun fights look realistic. A lot of effort was put into producing this movie, much more than I’ve seen in most independent films. I really want to applaud everyone working behind the scenes and convey to anyone who reads this review that Refuge is one of the best examples of how you don’t need to be making moves in Hollywood to create a product that is worthwhile. Refuge couldn’t be more perfect from a production standpoint and I’m actually happy that bigger budget executives didn’t get their greedy little hands on it. It would have been tainted, as all of the hard work, effort and love that went into making this title really shows through during a view.
I’m trying to find something negative to say, a warning to anyone who views Refuge, but I’m coming up blank. Every decision that was made here was the right one. The casting was perfect, the moments of suspense are evenly set apart and provides you with that roller coaster ride feeling, the scoring was fantastic, Refuge‘s run-time is right on the mark and there are true moments of man-made horror to be found here. Maybe even the biggest truth about this movie is that… hey, it is a realistic look at what America would become should an event like this ever occur. If zombies and gorefests are not your type of thing, but you like movies that are going to make your heart pound or stop, then Refuge is certainly the title for you. It’s psychological horror at its best!
And as of today it is out on VOD. Go get it, guys. Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.