During a new, post-apocalyptic and predatory Ice Age, two brothers, Cody and his younger brother Jem, are looking for a place to call home and doing their best to try to survive their harsh reality. Cody does his best to guide his younger brother, but Jem’s still trying to hold on to a sliver of his carefree youth, but in this new landscape letting your guard down like that can easily get you killed.
Aftermath is an American 2013 short film by Jeremy Robbins. It was filmed in the span of a couple of weeks up in Vermont during the dead of winter to help achieve that post-apocalyptic feel. But like most such stories, the film’s focus isn’t so much on the location or the climate or, hell, even the events that led to our new Ice Age hellscape. Instead the focus is on the relationship between the brothers and their struggle against their greatest foe of all: their fellow man.
If you need something to compare it to, Aftermath feels a bit like The Walking Dead. There’s a giant elephant in the room regarding the sudden shift in climate and how humanity got to that point, but that element is never expounded upon, or really acknowledged. So don’t go into it expecting some sort of explanation for the deep freeze. It just is.
Instead, the focus comes from the dangers from other humans and how the brothers cope with each other and the constant changes. Or rather, it’s how the older brother tries to shield his younger brother from the environment they now find themselves in. Except he does too good a job, to predictably disastrous consequences. So really, it’s almost a story about how the younger brother is forced to transition from a (relatively) protected state, into the world of adulthood.
So, at least plot-wise, Aftermath really doesn’t do anything new. The themes seen here aren’t going to be anything you haven’t seen in a post-apocalyptic movie before. But it does do a good job superimposing the desolate landscape with the brother’s emotional journey. The barron-ness of the landscape and the contrast of the violence played across the cold, white backdrop can be quite striking. So while much of the content may not be wholly new, at least it sounds nice and is quite lovely to look at.
Aftermath is your typical story of kill or be killed superimposed against an unknown, yet not wholly unfamiliar setting. The characters are engaging enough for the short time we get to know them, even if we have no idea how they got into this mess in the first place. And while the plot isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, what it does do, it does well. That the soundtrack is fitting and the cinematography is picturesque is just a nice bonus. At less than 20 minutes, those looking for a quick little horror/thriller to sink their teeth into likely won’t be disappointed.
Aftermath is available on several streaming services, including free on Youtube.
You can watch it here: