After the Dark (also titled The Philosophers outside the US) is a science fiction psychological thriller film written and directed by John Huddles. It stars Sophie Lowe, Rhys Wakefield, Bonnie Wright, James D’Arcy, Daryl Sabara, Freddie Stroma, Cinta Laura, and Katie Findlay.
It’s been a while since I have seen this film, but it remains something that was hard to forget. The entire film is a thought experiment. “On the last day of school, he holds an exercise in which he posits an oncoming atomic apocalypse. There is a bunker to shelter them for a year, but it only has supplies for ten people, so his students have to decide who of them should be allowed in.”
The film goes on to provide scenarios in which each student’s potential death/choices/options are explored. The film gets some hard truths exposed especially when they choose one male named James is portrayed a being gay, the exploration of survival scenarios is somewhat grotesque and completely devoid of fact but still it was interesting to see people get pushed beyond their comfort zone. The film explores what happens if all survive if some survive and if none survive and show theories of survival based on academic prowess, technical prowess, reproductive ability, etc. Its actually kind of interesting to watch if you looking to drill into human psychology as the film shows people’s faults/weaknesses, etc. The interesting part was that for most of the scenarios the professor’s skills are hidden, the rest of the students are handed to them, adding a certain unknown variable, which is curious. Parts of the film make no sense and when you read the synopsis there is less meaning to most of what the film shows, including the ending. It’s as if it was meant to be a short tv show and turned into a film, filling in gaps that end up to you ‘notice’ the discrepancies.
I found the film quite unique in its format, showing a well-designed thought experiment that will be very familiar to those of us who took philosophy and psych in college/university. It’s a dark film, that I think you could classify as a cult film, as it’s got unique grunge-like landscape with elements that appeal to those of us living in a time when viruses/global catastrophe are possible. The parts I found weird are the love story that they try to interject, and the weird ending makes less sense even when you get the love triangle part into consideration. I would say this is one to watch if you want to get some inspiration for your dark apocalyptic piece and would put it up to other films like Clockwork Orange as a cult film that will remain as part of an interesting intersection between film and psychology and human adaptation/survival.