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'Extinction' finds little new in a zombie evolution

'Extinction' finds little new in a zombie evolution
Matthew Fox in "Extinction." (Vertical Entertainment)

"The Walking Dead" must really be leaving its mark on the entire zombie subgenre. Following this spring's "Maggie," in which a father tries to care for an infected daughter until her inevitable transformation, "Extinction" similarly uses the zombiepocalypse as a backdrop to explore the melodramatic relationships among the survivors.

Neighbors Patrick (Matthew Fox) and Jack (Jeffrey Donovan) haven't been on speaking terms for years. Disheveled Patrick longs for human interaction and does radio broadcasts from his home. Jack cares for his preteen daughter, Lu (Quinn McColgan), who's developing a bit of a rebellious streak. Patrick was apparently in love with Lu's mother, Emma (Valeria Vereau), who's no longer in the picture and presumably dead.

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Where are we? Right, zombies. They are few and far between. A snowstorm has kept them away from our survivors for nearly a decade. But to adapt to the frigid cold, they've apparently evolved into blind, slithering creatures reminiscent of the crawlers from "The Descent."

Based on a novel by Juan de Dios Garduño, this Spanish-Hungarian co-production directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas doesn't seem at all foreign, thanks to the polished filmmaking and the American leads. On the flip side, it isn't as novel as Spain's successful "[REC]" franchise.

More filmmakers should treat the zombie subgenre as allegorical, the way George A. Romero intended. But "Extinction" and "Maggie" both arrive at the same conclusion about fatherhood, thereby confirming it as a cliché rather than a coincidence.

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"Extinction."

MPAA rating: R, for horror violence, terror and language.

Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes.

Playing: At AMC Universal CityWalk Stadium 19. Also on video on demand.

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