Saturday, 7 September 2013

ALMOST HUMAN - Review By Greg Klymkiw - #TIFF 2013 - By rote 80s-style splatter picture offers nothing new.

Almost Human (2013) **
dir. Joe Begos
Starring: Graham Skipper, Vanessa Leigh, Josh Ethier

Review By Greg Klymkiw

The 80s was easily the worst decade for movies - ever. Anyone who started to discover cinema during the 60s and 70s suffered for ten long years as endless F/X laden blockbusters, overblown comedies, ludicrously macho action movies, empty splatter-oriented horror films and the worst horror of them all, John Hughes, assaulted our delicate sensibilities. These days, when I see young filmmakers tying to emulate this woefully empty period, I just get unbelievably depressed.

Almost Human is just such a movie. Set in a small town, a series of alien kidnappings result in a superhuman breed of psychopaths using the bodies of humans as their hosts to wreak carnage. There's nothing especially surprising, funny, insightful or even suspenseful here. The film works on a level of homage, but as a movie unto itself, all it really has going for it are a whole mess of reasonable splatter effects. The characters are bereft of anything engaging or interesting and as such, it's virtually impossible to connect with much of anything in the film, save for on a purely visceral level.

It's a pretty stock tale about two friends who are kidnapped by aliens. They're both probed in a horrendous fashion until one is returned to Earth and the other isn't. Eventually, the other who isn't, does - and now he's a full-fledged killing machine. His friend and old girlfriend must band together to find out the truth and stop the killing.

Ho-hum. The movie is well enough made and clips along, but the whole affair is so dispiritedly by rote that it could only appeal to the most die-hard and non-discriminating genre aficionados. Its heart is in the right place in terms of attempting to recapture a certain period of film that meant something to the filmmakers, but sadly, it's not a period especially worth recapturing.

I will, however, give director Joe Begos credit for one thing - at least he's paying homage to splatter instead of John Hughes. This, I believe is what one could call a tender mercy.

"Almost Human" is part of the TIFF 2013 Midnight Madness Section at the Toronto International Film Festival. Visit the TIFFwebsiteHERE."