Population Zero (2015) – Movie Review

Population Zero (2015) - Movie Review

Population Zero is a totally original, and incredibly convincing mockumentary that I had pleasure of sitting through about a month back.

It was actually part of a mockumentary feature night for me – first this offering, then Savageland (an all round good night!).

There’s something about these mockumentary offerings that puts them near the top of the list – somehow directors of these documentary-based films just get the ingredients right…time and time again!

The film is based on a bizarre schism in American legislation that’s linked to a triple murder. It’s gripping stuff…

The Plot

Okay, for once I was actually over-impressed by the plot bio IMDb had to offer on this movie. I steal these bios often enough – so it would make sense to include it here when it’s actually well thought out…for once?

“In April 2009 three young men were killed in a remote part of Yellowstone National Park. Authorities Never Found the Murderer. He Found Them. Only hours after three young men were gunned down in cold blood, Dwayne Nelson walked into a ranger station miles away and confessed to the crime. Despite his detailed confession, Dwayne Nelson was allowed to go free because of a loophole in the American Constitution. Award Winning Canadian Documentarian Julian T. Pinder (Trouble in the Peace, Land, Jesus Town) travels to Yellowstone in a cinematic and compelling chase for truth behind a crime that should have rocked the nation. How did the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the United States of America, let a guilty man go free? In his hunt for answers Pinder breaks the first rule of documentary film making by allowing himself to become a subject in the story; risking his life and others when he finds evidence that could re-open the case of the Yellowstone Murders years later.”

There’s actually more to that synopsis, I just thought I was pushing my luck if I stole any more of it!


I’m going straight into the conclusion here as I really don’t want the visitors I get to this site to miss this film – it’s an excellent addition to the genre and extremely well made.

For once it’s not a horror or a science fiction based plot – it’s more of a mix of mystery, crime and thriller. It really does make for a refreshing change!

I really liked the way that the lead character was played by real life documentarian Julian Pinder – it definitely gave something edgy and realistic to the movie’s journey.

He was able to act by doing his day job – what could turn out more natural than that?

I’m pretty sure that newcomers to this genre will watch the credits roll right until the end – just to make sure they have watched a piece of fiction (yes there are people that stupid out there – you should see some of the contact messages I’ve had off this site!).

How many of you remember Christopher MacBride’s The Conspiracy?

Most of you, I would hope!

Anyway, Population Zero definitely has that quality feel about it – much like The Conspiracy did.

Observational humor mingles with spine-chilling moments throughout the film. You would think you’d start to get bored of this sort of plot but for some reason…you really don’t!

A top quality piece of film making – a shining example of what can be achieved with no budget when you just get things right.




  1. Hey Chris. Thought I would let you know I watched The Dark Tapes and I was pretty impressed. It had a few different story lines and each one was solid. In fact I may watch it again tonight! Check it out if you haven’t already.

    • Hey Howard – watched it last night! (gave you a shout-out in the review as well!). Enjoyed it overall but I was expecting a little bit more after the long wait…
      Still a good film mind!

  2. I have been coming to your site for a long time and almost always agree with your reviews. Given that, I was shocked by how much my wife and I hated this movie. The whole thing felt like a melodramatic circle jerk; 70% of the movie is moody solo shots of the director/star. It’s ‘well-made’ if we’re talking about production values, but the writing and direction were awful. The mystery was vaguely interesting, but not enough to make up for the terrible dialogue (mostly the director talking to himself, because there are no other main characters for him to interact with) an narcissistic pretension of the director/star, who is not nearly as interesting as he seems to think he is. We kept watching all of the way to end because your review made it sound as though something worthwhile would happen, but nothing did.

    Thank you for your reviews all the same. We usually agree with you. I just felt like I should share our point of view for others considering watching this movie.

    • No problems J – opinions are opinions and this would be a pretty boring site if everyone agreed with me! 🙂

      Besides, comments like these are the reason this website ranks so well in Google’s results so keep ’em coming – the more interaction the comment section gets the higher the website ranks!

  3. The reason why I like FF is the films like this one. I really enjoyed it. Interesting plot, realistic sad story (I felt sympathy for victims, murderer and his family), good lead actor, and almost flawless film directing. I just wished there were more details about the murderer’s father (Bear). e.g. how he inspired and influenced his son? What happened to Bear? What did Bear do? But maybe the less, the better. I want more FFs like Population Zero. Do you know similar films (plot, theme, or style)?

    As I said before, keep your blog alive and updated. Because it’s very useful for FF community (both fans and filmmakers).

    • Oh this site will keep going and evolving Bazi – I’ve had numerous monetary offers for it from competitors but I’ve turned them all down – the site’s here to stay! 🙂

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