Only is Another Take on the “Women are All Dying” Theme

A virus hitchhiking on a comet infects the world, killing off female humans. A young couple hides out in the ensuing societal collapse.

I’ll be honest, the premise gives me hives: they fridged 51% of the population.

The subtly-named “Eva” (Freida Pinto) and her boyfriend Will (Leslie Odom Jr.) hole up in their apartment, trying to avoid infection by the global plague that is killing off women and girls (always referred to as “females” in the news).  But their safe little bubble can’t last forever, and they try to escape the city to make a last stand in the woods.

The timeline of the plague and their self-imposed quarantine is told in flashbacks, and the tension is largely from withheld information dribbled in through those flashbacks: what’s going on? What are the rules of the contagion? What is happening to society? What is the government doing? What happened that made them leave quarantine? At least it’s not an expositional info dump, but sometimes it feels like cheating.

The film is universally gray, and the city is demolished and burned out, yet somehow shops are still in business, and Will goes out to do the shopping while Eva is holed up in a plastic-barricaded room, separated from the atmosphere that is killing off all the women and invisibly infecting many of the men.

So they go out into the world. Eva pretends to be a man. She is perfectly made-up, her eyebrows are beautifully groomed, and she’s wearing subtle lipstick, but has some dirt on her face and sunglasses, so the ruse works, at least until she is clocked in the store for looking at the tampons. This is a danger because the government is offering two million dollars for anyone bringing a healthy “female” in so they can harvest her ovaries for “Project Embryo,” an attempt to repopulate the Earth with an artificial womb.

My trans cousins are going to have some big problems with this one.

First, and this is a practical issue, she binds her breasts with Ace bandages and duct tape. Full-time, all day long. Friends and neighbors, this is a bad practice and can actually cause permanent harm. I can see where she might not have had access to a proper chest binder, but her baggy coat would probably have been sufficient. At the very least she could show even the slightest bit of discomfort. But not even itching. Kids, find you a real binder. There are even services you can find online that can get you one for free. It is a health issue.

Second, there is a throw-away character who is a sex worker, either in drag or actually trans, who is treated rather poorly, and seems to be offered as a mirror image of Eva: someone pretending to survive. In a just world this is an isolated character and no big deal. But in the world we live in, this is a drop in a very large bucket that winds up with people killed. So I am not okay with that.

The film is well-made and well-acted, which allows the viewer to give it the benefit of the doubt when something fails to make sense. Sometimes it really is an oversight, and sometimes it is explained later. At least they manage to avoid a lot of tired horror tropes, sometimes with a bit of self-awareness as they set something up that has a different payoff than expected, though there are few real surprises.

Rating: 4 out of ten ashy comets

Only
RATING:UR
Runtime:1 hour 37 minutes
Directed By:
Written By:

 

 

 

By |2020-03-07T12:30:11-08:00March 7th, 2020|Movies, Reviews|Comments Off on Only is Another Take on the “Women are All Dying” Theme

About the Author:

Scix lived through the 80s but doesn't remember much of the 70s. Horror writer, improv actor and haunted house monster trainer and designer, Scix also likes to emcee underground burlesque and vaudeville shows in Salt Lake City.
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