Corrupt political warfare has been badgering the United States for decades now. What if it all could end? Life would be much simpler right? After an airborne toxin is released upon the country, the answer is laid out; and it’s not pretty. Out of the millions who came in contact, only a few were immune to the deadly gas. Those who still stand however are left to fend for themselves in a world filled with chaos and peril as the remnants of society has been divided into factions compiled of the most deranged.
While most of the survivors have reverted to embracing the disorder, some continue to survive with little to no violence; deemed Domestics. Two Domestics, Mark (Tyler Hoechlin) and Nina (Kate Bosworth), decide to travel across Wisconsin in search to regroup with loved ones. With their marriage being held together by a thread, the relationship is tested through the disarray they encounter along the way. The dynamic between the two is what grounds “The Domestics”, even with the society built on insanity. Hoechlin portrays the earnest man struggling for affection very well. Bosworth counter balances said performance with one that is melancholy and all the more believable. Even before the story gets to the meat of their failing marriage there are hints with body language and dialogue that suggest the collapsing of the relationship. As the film progresses you become invested in the characters, while still managing to enjoy the eccentricity of the factions that emerge.
We never get an in-depth explanation of the various gangs, but the film does an excellent job at world-building by way of individualism between each faction. The sheets, for example, wear white sheets, similar to a cartoon ghost, as they track down rivals, while the Gamblers have a much more barbaric presence. Some members adorn stuffed animal heads and other remains to produce a more terrifying demeanor. Half a dozen groups are mentioned within “The Domestics”, which gives a promising base for a television show or comic series. This component of the film is what I initially gravitated towards when watching, as the human condition evolving into something more primal due to situational circumstances is a fascinating concept.
“The Domestics” is definitely more of an action thriller than a horror, but the few scenes that highlight the intensity of the world are quite suspenseful. Suburbs are now barren wastelands, making any house the perfect location for hunting. The creaking wooden floors and dead silence of the neighborhood bind together for some seat gripping moments.
Like other post-apocalyptic thrillers, “The Domestics” creates a compelling fictional world of violence and lack of government that deserves more content to be consumed. Films like this are so enjoyable as we get a brief look at what could happen and how quickly the rules and regulations of modern society would be tossed aside. It’s not a perfect film, but one that entertains you from beginning to end.