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Apex
Apex

Directed by

David Fincher

Produced by

David Fincher
Leonardo DiCaprio
David Robert Mitchell

Screenplay by

David Fincher

Narrated by

Haley Lu Richardson

Starring

Leonardo DiCaprio
Amy Adams
Haley Lu Richardson
Hugo Weaving

Music by

Michael Giaccino

Edited by

Richard Francis-Bruce

Distributed by

New Line Cinema

Release date(s)

September 15, 2017

Running time

110 minutes

Budget

$72.1 million

[Source]

Apex is an independent horror film written, co-produced and directed by David Fincher, co-produced also by David Robert Mitchell. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a crippled, mentally scarred ex-cop who is fleeing with his wife Genevieve (Amy Adams) from an unnamed entity. They encounter Taylor (Haley Lu Richardson) and her father (Hugo Weaving), and they join together in a violent, terrifying and complex fight for survival, haunted by the murderous creature and the looming fear of insanity

Apex was released in the United States on September 15, 2017 by Paramount Pictures, and has grossed $72.1 million worldwide. The film is one of David Fincher's most controversial film since Fight Club, with many critics applauding the film for its atmosphere and lead performances, but others criticising debating that the film was excruciatingly confusing at times and that the ending was excessive and startling in terms of the violence. The marketing of the film focused on challenging audiences to truly figure out the meaning of the film from watching it, leading to a boost in its popularity.

The title, according to Fincher, is a reference to the concept that man is the apex predator of planet earth.

Plot

A car crashes violently against a tree while speeding, after a huge stag crosses the road in front of the driver, Genevieve. Genevieve pulls her unconscious husband Chris out of the wreck and revives him, only for him to assault and attempt to kill her, believing her to be an enemy. He recovers quickly enough from this delusion and starts crying, and she comforts him. Despairing that their car is wrecked, Chris believes that something will find them, but neither he nor his wife seem capable of saying what they are running from. A creature watches them from a hiding place and watches Genevieve carry her husband, who is paraplegic, back to the road, where they wait all night for somebody else to pass by. During the night, Chris is menaced by unseen figures that emerge from the woods, only to vaporise whenever Genevieve looks for them. He is revealed to own a revolver, but Genevieve has confiscated it because he almost shot himself when he woke up from a nightmare once. Genevieve sacrifices the last food they have to her husband, citing that he needs it more than she does.

Genevieve and Chris lie awake all night before a jeep appears, which they draw attention to. The disgruntled driver Edward pulls a shotgun on them, thinking that they are thieves, before his daughter Taylor calms him down and allows them to hitchhike in their jeep. They continue to drive, where it is established that Chris was once a marine, until he was dishonourably discharged, and Edward was a commanding officer until he was decommissioned. Finding common ground, Edward asks where they are going and Genevieve simply says that they are going as far away from where they were as is humanly possible. The stag reappears and Chris tries to shoot it, before Genevieve disarms him. The jeep runs out of gas soon enough, near an abandoned house outside the woods, and Genevieve suggests that they stay there. After carrying her husband into the house, she sees a mysterious tattoo on Edward's shoulder when he helps unpack the jeep. Taylor experiences nightmares about being unable to move or breathe and is consoled by her father, who explains that she has suffered night terrors for years.

After a series of violent nightmares in one night, Taylor disturbs Chris, who asks about her and her father. After learning that Edward tried to make a living as a drill instructor in recruitment camps, Chris tells her that he was incapable of making any kind of living because of his insecurities after returning from the army. Taylor asks him about the thing they were fleeing from, and Chris angrily reacts to her even alluding to it. The next morning, Edward goes out hunting for food, considering the fact that they are stranded in the house by the storm that destroyed the road during the night. While hunting, the stag menaces him and seems to always be a moment ahead of the bullets. The stag aggressively confronts Edward, before fleeing, and Edward returns to the house with a string of ferrets on his shoulder, but he doesn't remember catching them. The stag continues to appear around the house. Chris and Genevieve discuss that they once had children, but to Chris' surprise Genevieve doesn't remember them. He remembers that they had two daughters, but doesn't himself remember much about them after they reached twelve.

Edward hunts after the stag repeatedly, with gunshots attracting the unwanted attention of a poacher named Kyle, who vies for the game that Edward is hunting by shooting at him. A gunfight breaks out between the two men and Edward loses a finger. When taking cover, Kyle is attacked and Edward encounters an unseen creature eating him. Horrified by what he sees, Edward flees from the scene, stealing Kyle's guns and game. When he comes back, Chris hallucinates that the dead animals he brought with him start crying. Edward takes them to where the body was, where they only find a horribly bloodied jacket, cap and jeans, but not the body of the poacher. Chris believes that the creature that hunted after them is getting closer, which Genevieve disbelieves. Taylor ventures away from her father and something stalks her from within bushes. She sees the eviscerated body of Kyle hanging from a tree and screams, attracting Edward's attention. They find the body, with the stag standing underneath it. Edward shoots and kills the stag, but it comes back to life and attacks them. Taylor manages to shoot the beast in the back of the head and properly kill it, and they take the body back to the house, but not before being confronted by the rest of his party, who pull guns on them. Genevieve appears, pulls a gun and shoots two of the men, before ordering the other to leave. In the night, the last man, Fred, returns while they are sleeping and moves to kill them, but Chris shoots him in the back and kills him, before falling into a hysterical fit and suffering violent flashbacks about Iraq.

Amid the flashbacks, Greg is resurrected by the creature and attacks Genevieve, only for Chris to shoot him twice more in the head. Genevieve is left in shock by the attack, and Taylor cares for her, while Edward arranges for them to leave, thinking that it is no longer safe for them to stay there. Chris insists they stay, because they cannot care for Genevieve on the road, but Edward, showing a psychopathic personality, threatens to shoot him in the arms with the shotgun if he disagrees with him again. Taylor, horrified by her father's suddenly violent turn, pulls a gun on him too, and orders him to put his weapon down. Edward attacks her, knocking her to the ground, and Taylor retaliates. In a brutal struggle, she throws him down a hitherto-unknown trapdoor into a basement, and boards over it, trapping her unconscious father in there. While caring for Genevieve, Taylor bonds with Chris, and he tells her about Afghanistan, where he ordered the entrance and extermination of a village supposedly hiding the enemy. This invasion led to the slaughter of children when the Afghan people retaliated and Chris ended up killing a mother and daughter with the same bullet. Since then, the creature has been following them and has plagued him in particular.

Edward wakes up half-blind by a blow that Taylor dealt him, and is stalked inside the basement by the creature. Going into a rage, he furiously and (after amazing efforts) breaks out and attacks Chris, only for the man to overpower him and beat him to death, letting his body fall back into the basement. The fight has woken up Taylor, who convinces him that they ought to leave now, since the creature is inside the house, whereas Chris wonders aloud why it hasn't attacked them already. A crazed Edward, still miraculously alive, tries to climb out of the basement, only for Taylor and Chris to flee, carrying Genevieve's body together. Retrieving his gun, Edward tries to pursue them, but is too uncoordinated by being half-blind and grievously beaten - he falls into a pond and nearly drowns, but achieves newfound strength and ambushes them. He strangles Taylor, until Genevieve stabs him in the back and hacks off two of his fingers, leaving him screaming and crying in the woods. They collapse from exhaustion, shocked by how nobody seems capable of staying dead, and Taylor leaves Chris, before beheading her father and rubbing garlic into the wound. Taking her father's head, she throws it into the river and howls.

Taylor returns, having washed the blood off her hands, and finds that Genevieve has recovered completely, and remembers the predicament very differently - she believes that Chris just tried to kill them, and that Edward beat him to death. Unable to understand what is happening to his wife, Chris smothers her into unconsciousness and realises that they have lost their minds. Taylor, unspeakably calm, assures him that they are completely sane, but the world around them is warped. Unsettled by Taylor's serenity, Chris searches for his gun, but Taylor retrieves it from Genevieve, sarcastically stating that Genevieve's fear of his instability would become the death of them. She admits to killing her father, but states that it was inevitable that she would kill him, since Chris was incapable of killing anyone that wouldn't haunt them, whereas Taylor has no conscience and is therefore unperturbed by what she is capable of. Chris listens to Taylor waxing lyrical about the number of men she has killed throughout the centuries who are too proud to properly repent for their sins, forcing her to put them through equivalent suffering - Edward was one of these peope. He demands to know who she is, but she summons the creature, which (obscured from the camera but for a pair of bipedal legs in a black cloak) recites the last words of the people Chris killed in Iraq.

Addressing the creature as 'Father', Taylor gives him the option of the creature killing Genevieve, or Taylor killing her, and Chris responds by shooting Genevieve in the head to circumvent Taylor. Having known that Chris would do this, Taylor calmly banishes the creature, which sprouts batlike wings and flies away, and, transforming into Genevieve, seduces Chris, kissing him and sucking the life out of him, letting go only when he has lost all memory of the ordeal. She visually remembers doing the exact same thing with Edward, who isn't her father but another soldier she has put through the ordeal. While Chris' memory fades, Taylor (with Genevieve's face but her own voice) talks about how man is believed to be the apex predator of planet earth, when women are the source of their weakness and inconsistencies and are therefore the apex predators instead. When he recovers, he believes that Taylor is his daughter, and that Genevieve has been dead for years, and a couple with a family of three finds them, with Taylor tearfully begging for their help. The father approaches Taylor, indicating that she is Chris' successor, and Taylor claims that Chris is her father and that her mother tried to kill them.

Cast

  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Chris, a paraplegic soldier.
  • Amy Adams as Genevieve, Chris's wife.
  • Haley Lu Richardson as Taylor.
  • Hugo Weaving as Edward, Taylor's father.
  • TJ Miller as Kyle.
  • Armie Hammer as Greg, Kyle's friend.
  • Joe Pesci as Fred, Kyle's friend.
  • Nicolas Hoult as Drake, Kyle's friend
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