Friday, 26 July 2013

Review - Exit Humanity (2011 - Dir. John Geddes)

I recently bought a film called Dead Genesis that I thought I could review for this festival of all things decaying. It was cheap so it was worth a punt. I only got about five minutes into it before giving it the flick. Low budget doesn't have to be bad. But here it definitely seems to be. Maybe one day I'll give it a chance. Possibly.

So it was with some trepidation that I started to view Exit Humanity. Low budget. Zombies. Cheap looking zombies at that. Mostly set in a forest. Things really didn't look good.

At the end of the American Civil War, Edward Young (Mark Gibson) suffers a fairly traumatic experience and due to a promise to his son, sets off on a journey. Through lots of forests. (I can't see the father of evlkeith going through what Edward Young goes through based on a promise. We went to Brid when I was little, and there was a ball pool. He said I could go in it on the way back. Then proceeded to take me a completely different way back, bypassing the ball pool. Cheers.) So Exit Humanity scores one point for having a setting in a different time period. But will it get any more?

Actually, it's pretty good. The forest setting looks moody and atmospheric due to some gorgeous cinematography and colour grading. The acting is generally convincing too. (There are some known stars, well... known to me and probably you: Stephen McHattie (Pontypool), Dee Wallace (Critters) and Bill Moseley (Army of Darkness).) The only time the lowness of budget rears its ugly head is when the zombies appear. They look more like zombies from a micro-budget film. And strangely despite the technical quality of the rest of the film, the zombies are even shot like they're in a badly made micro-budget film. 

As with most great zombie films the shambling leg draggers aren't that important. It's the characters and the emotions they're put through. And that's what Exit Humanity focusses on. Not gore effects. Friendship, conflict and gut-wrenching emotional trauma are the order of the day. Which is okay by me.

In a bit of mixed-media type action there are some animated sequences to break things up. The animation's not up there with the best but it fits the style and tone of the film. It also helps to expand the scope of what is on offer.

Narration is normally useless, yet here it adds to the atmosphere. Brian Cox lends his voice to the proceedings and made the film reminiscent of the Xbox Live game, Bastion.

On most films, watching the extras makes me appreciate them even more. Not so with this one. It appears to have a bigger budget than I expected. They had money for set construction and all the proper technical gear. They've still made a good film but based on the zombie effects I thought they had a very tiny budget, and the achievement in making a film of this quality was a lot greater. 

Despite all that John Geddes seems to be a director to keep a sneaky eye on. Hellmouth is in post-production (again with Stephen McHattie) but - and here's a fortuitous link to the start of this review - his first film Scarce is another low-budget film that I only got five minutes through. Ah well, onwards and upwards I suppose.

If you like this you could also try:
The Dead, Undead.

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