June 17, 2012

Filthy Review - Exit Humanity

Exit Humanity (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Exit Humanity is the latest film that I have seen that heralds from Canada. It is also made by a lot of the same crew that made Monster Brawl but, aside from both having at least one zombie in each film, they could not be further apart as movies. Well, I guess they could, however for the sake of this review they couldn’t be further apart. Whereas Monster Brawl played the majority of its running time for laughs, Exit Humanity is an extremely serious and somber piece, which works for and against this undead epic.

I say this because Exit Humanity has a hell of a lot going for it, in terms of its ideas and execution, yet it is seriously flawed in some areas. More on both sides of this a little later, just as soon as I give a brief run through of the plot of this ambitious movie.

The majority of the film takes place shortly after the Civil War and tells a tale of an outbreak of the living dead that has ravished the land. In the middle of this is Edward Young, a former soldier, who loses his family to these flesh-eaters. Realizing that there is nothing left for him, he decides to head off to find pastures new.

Whenever there are zombies involved you just know that the journey will not be as straight forward as Edward would have liked. Not only does he have the undead to contend with, he also comes across another former soldier who is searching for his sister and it is here that he learns of the feared General Williams.

Exit Humanity is, at its core, another undead road movie, even though the roads aren’t paved and it involves a lot of travelling through the woods. But as with many undead flicks the center of the movie involves a character getting from point A to point B. Not that this is a bad thing in the case of this movie, as along Edward’s journey we are kept up to speed with events, and Edward’s state of mind, which can be fairly fragile, with narration from Brian Cox.

Despite some of the film’s visual flourishes, including some quite cool animated scenes, Exit Humanity does set off at a fairly pedestrian pace. It only picks up after it passes the hour mark, and herein lays one of the film’s flaws; it’s too long. The film clocks in at around 2 hours and could quite easily have had 20 minutes or so shorn off the running time. I guess writer/director and editor John Geddes decided to keep everything in the film, rather than allow any of the fat to be trimmed.

I personally have nothing against long films; I actually prefer 2 hour plus flicks over a 90 minute movie most of the time, however there needs to be the material to fill that running time. The first hour of this film does drag a bit, and couple that with the incredibly serious tone and it becomes a little heavy going.

On the positive side though, it does pick up, especially with the introduction of General William’s, in another manic turn by Bill Moseley, and a few more characters that help fill the action.

Visually I liked Exit Humanity a lot; I liked the setting, I really liked the use of color or lack of if you prefer and I especially enjoyed Mark Gibson’s portrayal of Edward Young. His performance, along with Cox’s narration, helped to bring the struggles in his mind to the fore. Rather than just being gung-ho about the entire dead coming to life scenario, there was an added emotional depth to the film. It didn’t always work, but for the most part if was effectively done. The movie in fact doesn't focus on the undead at all. They are there, they ramble around and attack, but the focus is firmly on the living here. The special effects look good, and when claret is spilled it is done so quite effectively.

Exit Humanity is a film that has a great idea, and at times is a terrific movie, yet the rambling nature of parts of the movie holds it back a little. When a movie runs to two hours you either need to fill that time for the viewer, or else trim it down a little. I don’t usually give marks for films, and I’m not going to here. What I will say is that there is a lot going for this film, and at times I really enjoyed it. By the same token there were elements of this film that really disappointed me, as I have already mentioned.

Exit Humanity: A Zombie Saga, as it is known on the case, comes with a cautious recommendation from me.

Exit Humanity is released on DVD by Vivendi Entertainment on June 19th.

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