Hi everyone, Bryan here….
Documentary filmmaker Matt Ogens brings his narrative screenplay to life with ‘Go North‘, which is a post-apocalyptic story with kids. Of course, we’ve seen this genre and story play out time and time again over the past several years with tons of young adult movies that involve kids in a ravaged post apocalyptic scenario. These films all run together, because they are in fact all the same movie with different titles and character names. ‘Go North‘ breaks the mold in one certain aspect, in that it doesn’t take place in a largely dilapidated big city scape in the future with hundreds of millions of dollars going to dumb CGI effects or any big over-the-top action sequences that may involve monsters, robots, zombies, or any combination of the three. Instead, this is a fairly low budget film with none of the above, which is a breath of fresh air in this over-saturated genre.
The film follows a kid named Josh (Jacob Lofland or Neckbone from ‘Mud‘), who is a quiet kid living in a suburb of Detroit with a group of other young kids. Due to unknown reasons, something happened that left the people over the age of their early 20s die off, leaving only the young kids to fend for themselves in a modern ‘Lord of the Flies‘ type of manner. It would have been nice to have and ounce of depth and meaning in ‘Go North‘ like ‘Lord of the Flies‘ had, but it just isn’t there, which is the film’s downfall. In addition to lacking any real sense of dread or meaning, ‘Go North‘ can’t seem to find out who its audience really is. If it’s for the young adult crowd, they will be met with a large amount of vulgarities that seem to be fit into every second of the script.
If it’s for the older crowd, there doesn’t seem to be anything of value here other that Josh and his new friend Jessie (Sophie Kennedy Clark), leave their group of kids who are run by the former High School jocks who still wear their letter jackets, and who have forced the smaller kids to do manual labor, or else they will be sent to “walk the line”. I literally just laughed out loud, typing that, but that’s what we’re dealing with here. There isn’t really any substance here for those of us looking for more. We see these kids live in what looks like houses that have been unkempt and dilapidated for years, but in several of Josh’s flashbacks with his parents dealing with the “apocalypse scenario” that wiped out all the adults, Josh is the same age, and only looked to have happened only a month or so prior. These are the little things in ‘Go North’ that make you go Hmmmm.
That and the fact that the only real fear in the film is that of wild hungry pet dogs eating you. There is clear talent in this film with some of the performances, specifically with Lofland, and Ogens has a good eye that captures the beauty in the most unlikely of places here, but the story and dialogue itself goes nowhere and leaves no real conflict or suspense throughout the film, leaving ‘Go North’ rather forgettable.