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Exit Humanity (DVD)



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Exit HumanityStarring Mark Gibson, Adam Seybold, Jordan Hayes, Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley, Stephen McHattie, and Brian Cox

Directed by John Geddes

Distributed by Vivendi Entertainment

If I were to say that, oh, indie zombie flicks are a dime a dozen, it’s possible I might actually be overvaluing them somewhat. While it seems as though the current era has nothing on the ‘90s as far as the glut of gut-munching flicks goes, the past decade’s success of the Dawn remake, 28 Days Later, and the comics and television phenomenon The Walking Dead has all but ensured that we will be inundated with low-budget flicks featuring the undead and post-apocalyptic landscapes for years to come. And, of course, there will undoubtedly be a couple dozen terrible movies for every occasional good film that manages to show up.

Fortunately, Exit Humanity is one of the better movies of its type.

Subtitled A Zombie Saga, Exit Humanity opens during a Civil War battle in which a lone zombie happens to pop up and disrupt the proceedings. Cut to six years later, and we discover that the undead have begun to overtake the land. Enter Edward Young (played by newcomer Mark Gibson, very good here), a Civil War vet who has just lost his wife and son to a zombie attack. Angry, deeply depressed, and suicidal, Edward stays his self-execution long enough to carry out one final task: He will deliver his son’s ashes to the banks of a waterfall he’d promised the boy they would one day visit. Along the way he runs across Isaac (Adam Seybold, also great), a determined survivor in this zombie-strewn landscape. Isaac saves Edward from a zombie, only to enlist him in his own mission: He must rescue his sister from the hands of an evil general who is using captured human beings as test subjects in order to find a cure to the zombie plague.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. With a concept that could have been easily treated with all the respect of Asylum-level drek, Exit Humanity does a wonderful job of taking its story seriously and presenting a world which is wholly believable, even with its outrageous conceit and revisionist history. The actors are all very good, the locations and photography are just gorgeous, and the somber/twangy/horror-tinged musical score is one I would gladly own. The makeup effects are all solid as well, even if a bit more variety would have been appreciated in the look of the ghouls.

That’s not to say that Exit Humanity is a home run, however. The opening twenty minutes or so do a great job of keeping the viewer at arm’s length, what with its rampant narration (from Brian Cox, fantastic as always) and frequent animated sequences. As stylistic flourishes go, they work well in moderation (indeed, as they do for the remainder of the film). But it’s nearly impossible to become engaged with the story initially due to these choices and the slightly off editing in some early scenes. In addition, the movie loses a bit of focus in its second act when our hero gets sidelined for a stretch.

Still, even with those issues, Exit Humanity is one of the smarter and more emotionally engaging indie horror flicks that I’ve come across this year. Kudos to its makers for stressing character above action and emotion over gore and bloodshed. Future zombie flicks should take note.

Vivendi has given the film a decent DVD. There is hardly an abundance of bonus features to be found, but the image is sharp and the audio crisp. Included with the film is a ten-minute featurette titled Blood, Sweat, and Tears: The Making of Exit Humanity. Honestly, with that title I expected a feature-length doc, but so it goes. What we do get is an entertaining, albeit brief, look at the making of the film. Also included are two audio commentaries (one with the director and his two leads, the other with the director and his producers).

Overall, Exit Humanity winds up being that which is all too rare these days: an indie zombie flick with more heart than guts and more brains than braaaiiins. While I can’t quite call it a must-buy, I wholeheartedly recommend this as a rental at the very least.

Special Features:

  • Blood, Sweat, and Tears: The Making of Exit Humanity
  • Audio Commentary with Director John Geddes and Actors Adam Seybold and Mark Gibson
  • Audio Commentary with Director John Geddes and Producers Jesse Thomas Cook and Matt Wiele


    3 out of 5

    Special Features:

    2 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss Exit Humanity in the comments section below.

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    Friends Don’t Let Friends Review – A Haunting Mixture of Psychological Turmoil and Brutal Supernatural Horror



    Starring Brittany Anne Woodford, Jenny Curtis, Kanin Guntzelman, Brendan McGowan, Jake White

    Directed by James S. Brown

    We all like to think of ourselves as being surrounded by friends, but let’s face it, if we were to ever truly hit hard times, there are probably very few, if any, people we could truly rely on. So on some level, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film we can all relate too, as it deals with this very issue.

    Stephanie is an emotionally unstable young woman who strangles her boyfriend to death after he insults and breaks up with her. She calls her friends to help her dispose the body out in the Joshua Tree National Part area, and instead of reporting her to the police, they reluctantly comply. As their car breaks down, the four friends find themselves alone at night in the Californian wilderness with the rotting corpse in need of disposal. Given their dire circumstances, they begin to become more and more aggressive towards each other, and this was where the film was really at its best. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how far the limits of their friendship could be stretched, and who would be the first to crack and turn on the others.

    Anyway, their body disposal endeavor soon proves to be a mistake, as Stephanie’s ex rises from the grave as vengeful zombie demon thing with claws as long as knives. I’ll admit, I first I thought Friends Don’t Let Friends was going to be a movie purely about the limits of trust, so I was pretty surprised when the supernatural elements came into play. And when they did, the trust and friendship elements of the plot were somewhat downplayed in favor of a more traditional horror approach, and while it was still entertaining, I still would have preferred for the film not to have strayed from its initial path. At least the ending came as a shocker. I won’t go into spoilers, but let’s just say the even the most attentive viewers probably won’t see it coming.

    As you can probably guess from a psychologically-driven film of this kind, the performances were top notch, with Brittany Anne Woodford being on particularly top form as the manipulative and unstable Stephanie, a character who revels in the revels in the power she felt when ending another human life.

    With its mixture of psychological turmoil and brutal supernatural horror, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film I would certainly recommend, but keep in mind that it may make you think twice when confiding in people who you think of as being your friends.

    8 out of 10.

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    Coulrophobia Review – One of the Most Entertaining Killer Clown Films in Quite Some Time



    Starring Pete Bennett, Warren Speed, Daniella D’Ville, Roxy Bordeaux

    Directed by Warren Speed

    The word ‘Coulrophobia’ refers to the fear of clowns, and if you happen to suffer from it, you might want to avoid director Warren Speed’s film of the same name. However, if you can stand the sight of clowns with gaping wounds in their manly parts, then you’re in for one heck of a fun time.

    An all-female hockey team get lost deep in the Scottish woods on their way to a match (don’t ask), and are captured and forced to participate in a series of horrific games by the Grock family of clowns. All of the members of said family are absolutely fucking insane, but the one that really stood out was Twitch (Pete Bennett), who wears jester cloths and it said to have a short attention span. He longs to be a violin player and wishes he could blend in with normal society like the other members of his family. And you almost feel sorry for him, even though he’s a mad killer with bells on his head.

    Director Warren Speed also appeared as Milo, a grunting mute who had his tongue cut out when he was a boy. As mentioned above, we see a close-up shot of a open wound in his penis being stitched up, which is not an image that will be leaving your mind anytime soon. Speed is clearly fearless when it comes to his art.

    Inter-spliced with all the torture and mayhem, we also see documentary-style telling the sad history of the family involved, and this was where the film unfortunately faltered, because these scenes seemed out of place and just didn’t flow with the rest of the plot.

    Ultimately, however, Coulrophobia almost seems like a film Rob Zombie might have made before he lost his way and started churning out trash like 31. Comparisons to House of 1000 Corpses are inevitable, and I absolutely mean that as a compliment. This is one of the most entertaining killer clown films in quite some time.

    • Film
    User Rating 2.94 (17 votes)
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    The Gatehouse Review – What Is Found in the Woods Should Be Left in the Woods



    Starring Scarlett Rayner, Simeon Willis, Linal Haft

    Directed by Martin Gooch

    Now while no one will sneeze at the prospect of bringing up a bit of a rebellious child alone, it’s those damned kids that like to tempt fate by pissing off creatures in the woods…oh kids, they do the funniest things, don’t they?

    In Martin Gooch’s moderately spooky presentation, The Gatehouse, a struggling writer named Jack (Willis) finds himself behind the 8-ball following the tragic drowning death of his beloved wife, and if that isn’t enough to torque your drawers, his young daughter, Eternity (Rayner) is becoming quite the salty soul herself. Unfortunately the little one has been finding herself bullied at school, and her recourse of sorts is to simply toss attitude around as if it was pleasantly acceptable. Her pastime has become lonely wanderings in the deep woods, digging for hopeful treasures…and we all know what problems reside in the woods, don’t we, horror fans? Well, Eternity’s father is attempting to re-start his writing career with a frightening backstory – taking the reigns on a novel that was abruptly ended when the author committed suicide, and supposedly the tome is quite the dark piece of literature.

    Eternity’s never-ending quest for fortune and glory in the forest leads her to a most interesting (and ultimately) dangerous discovery (don’t sweat it – I won’t spill it for you). Bottom line here is this: the little girl has taken possession of something that should have been left in the friggin’ woods, and now someone (or something) wants it back PRONTO. What follows is a lackluster series of “spooky” events, and far be it from me to say, I’ve seen creepier stuff watching the evening news. Gooch then tries to bombard the audience with a plethora of instances and swerving plot direction – it’s fun at the beginning but can grow a bit tiresome over a duration.

    Performance-wise, both Rayner and Willis play the perfect combination of mentally-shot dad and determined-to-be-independent daughter – their scenes are ripe with subtle contempt, and the right amount of indecision. Overall, the film is best suited for those fans of fantasy/fable-like horror, and while it might not scare the pants off of you, it definitely will give us all another reason to stay the hell out of the woods once and for all.

    • Film


    Children in a forest-setting don’t always add up to cutesy-pie encounters with furry creatures – this one’s got a few scares to keep fans of coppice-horror appeased.

    User Rating 3.56 (18 votes)
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