The Last Victim, from director Naveen A. Chathapuram, is a story of bad people doing bad things and the way the evil keeps multiplying with each addition to the body count (which is pretty high). It’s styled as a neo-western, but it could easily have been an urban story of gangs.
The driving force of this evil is Jake (Ralph Ineson), who shows up at a roadside dinner in very rural New Mexico, to confront a former associate he’s tracked down to kill. Jake and his cohort will leave no witnesses (and from time to time, they need to kill off a few more).
The local sheriff (Ron Perlman) has to try to figure out just what’s happened in the diner that has lots of blood, but no bodies to be found. Along with a seemingly green young deputy, they start the investigation.
Susan (Ali Larter), a young professor is driving cross country with her husband on the way to her new teaching job in California They venture off the main road in search of a rustic picnic spot. But when they stumble upon Jake and his crew trying to bury the bodies, they too become witnesses to be eliminated. A good part of the film is Susan in the open country trying to avoid being found by Jake. All in all, of the various main characters, only two are alive at the end of the film.
For mood, Jake occasionally provides voice over that speaks to his pessimistic and misanthropic view of modern society. It’s not so much that he thinks he is noble as it is that he doesn’t fit into the world anymore and doesn’t even want to. So he takes his rage out on the world. In fact, we don’t really know what crimes have been committed prior to the film that leads up to that opening confrontation in the diner. We just know that Jake and those with him are bad guys.
The film wants to be way more philosophical than it is. The film opens with a title card of a quotation about revenge from an 17th century clergyman. But revenge isn’t what this is about. It is just about evil in a dark world. Showing the darkness of the world only can carry us so far. This is not a story of good versus evil, just evil corrupting everything it touches so that the darkness keeps spreading. There is only the faintest hint of hope at the end. And that hint is too tenuous for us to think there is any good to come out of this tale.
The Last Victim is in theaters and available of VOD.