Most horror films can be traced back to fairy tales, but few embrace those particular roots like Carolina Hellsgård’s lush zombie movie Endzeit – Ever After, and not just because of the somewhat clumsy domestic subtitle. In addition to creating an immersive, supernatural world where it feels like anything can be lurking behind the next tree, Endzeit is also one of the best Hansel-and-Gretel riffs since Matthew Bright’s Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby. After a zombie epidemic has swept the planet, the only cities still occupied by the living are Weimar and Jena in Germany.
Finding the methods the Weimar survivors use to deal with the plague too brutal, the outwardly traumatized Vivi (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) and the stronger-seeming Eva (Maja Lehrer) leave the relative safety of Weimar’s city walls to travel to Jena. Viewers unfamiliar with Deutschland’s geography might not have the foggiest idea how far the two cities are from each other, but that’s no more important than the fact that these zombies can run. Instead, Endzeit makes the most of one of the simplest setups, as Viv and Eva traverse an environment which is being reclaimed by nature in strange yet familiar ways, complete with a witch (Trine Dyrholm) who welcomes the new world. This is not the end.
Not rated. Opens Friday at the Roxie.