The end of the world is near and James is set on going to the ultimate party where everyone he knows is waiting - except for his girlfriend. On his way he meets a young girl in need of rescue. He brings her with him in attempt to find her father, and the relationship will soon make him regret his decisions.
I might be spoiling some parts of the movie. I'm not really sure, because I don't remember in the exact order certain things were revealed. But consider this a SPOILER WARNING.
We've seen quite a few melodramatic end of the world movies lately, and perhaps there's no surprise in thing considering the hype of 2012. I call it hype because I don't think many people took it seriously, and more or less looked forward to the date to arrive just so they could make jokes about it. With "Melancholia" and "The World's End" being my personal favorites of the bunch, pretty much covering all sides of the apocalypse, it is hard for me to care about most of the rest. They just seem to be pretty much the same movie. But if we look at "These Final Hours" as its own thing, does it hold up?
The movie has a rather bleak plot. Not just with the world coming to an end, but that our lead man is leaving his girlfriend when the end is near, to go to a huge end-of-the-world party. It doesn't exactly come off as a secret, and I was quick to be dismissive of our lead because of it. The movie puts a little girl in his care after he rescues her from bad people who plan to do... well, bad things to her. He helps her find her dad, but on the road she makes him realize what truly matters.
The movie does have something to say and I definitely think the plot is appealing, but most of the time I was being annoyed. When he reaches the party you quickly begin to question why he even wanted to go there, because everyone is a fucking bastard. Granted, this is what eventually makes him rethink his decision, but that doesn't make it any less upsetting. The little girl is really the only character that I cared about, other than the girlfriend who has a minimal screentime. The ending makes everything that has happened up until that point seem pointless, there was no redemption or learning from mistakes even though the movie is trying hard to tell us there was. We sort of just realize that we have wasted our time following the wrong person. I would much rather have followed the girlfriend, despite her seemingly spending the entire movie at one location, just waiting.
The movie does deliver a convincing apocalyptic atmosphere of a very hot Earth, just moments away from burning up (which is how the world will end). The atmosphere works great through the entire movie, but perhaps escalates a bit fast at the end, but that doesn't matter too much. The special effects, the few there are, are also quite well done considering the scale and the approach of the movie (drama rather than action). This is important to any movie where you plan to showing the end of the world.
Don't go out of your way to find "These Final Hours", but if you stumble upon it and you want to watch the world end then it's not horrible. Far from anything masterful, with a character that I had trouble caring about in the lead, but certainly intriguing enough. If it sounds like you have seen a ton of similar movies, then you probably have, and that's another reason why it appealed to me less - the apocalypse movies are getting a bit oversaturated.