Exit Humanity (2012)

Directed By: John Geddes
Written By: John Geddes
Starring: Mark Gibson
  Brian Cox
  Dee Wallace
  Bill Moseley
Exit Humanity

We begin with some title slates, explaining a bit of modern day history:

Several outbreaks of the dead returning to life have been reported within the united states. A catastrophe so unspeakable that the future of humanity is at stake.

In the midst of the turmoil, an old journal has surfaced, detailing a personal account of the living dead from the 19th century, a journal that may provide answers to this dark plague threatening mankind.

With me so far? Okay, well we’re then hit with an excellent Brain Cox voiceover, reading from the journal of Edward Young, which immediately launches us into Tennessee circa 1865… and the end of the American Civil War.

We then proceed to embark on a sprawling, chapter-led story through 19th Century zombieworld, following Edward Young (Mark Gibson) on his single-minded journey to bury his son’s ashes in a faraway place filled with personal meaning. Unfortunately a trek through an undead infested Western-era America isn’t as easy as it sounds… and Edward finds himself jumping from trouble to trouble in a difficult and violent adventure.

Exit Humanity is fantastically well crafted. It is beautifully shot and scripted by John Geddes and feels epic in nature, despite the occasional blip in quality. One ‘quality blip’ is the inclusion of some random cartoon moments, which are surprising and bizarre, either inserted due to budget limitations or to bolster time / the script. It is a bold and interesting choice, but oddly distracting.

Unfortunately the script and acting is incredibly overwrought at times, but somehow this is done with enough quality that it is – for the most part – completely forgivable. John Geddes has a unique and unforgettable style and it’s disconcertingly classy.

Exit Humanity also features perhaps one of the best score’s I’ve heard for a ‘low budget’ indie-style film, and it consistently rouses and moves; the music is quality work from Jeff Graville, Nate Kreiswirth and Ben Nuddsscore.

The acting is also superb in Exit Humanity, with everyone delivering pitch perfect performances. Mark Gibson holds the film and is an excellent leading man, with Brian Cox’s voiceover adding an extra edge of gravitas to proceedings, along with decent turns from genre-favourites Dee Wallace and Bill Moseley. There is also a very disappointing, mumbling performance from Stephen McHattie, who is criminally underused here. For shame!

Despite the glut of excellence on display here, Exit Humanity is certainly not perfect. The major issues are two-fold; we’re never sure where this story fits into our reality and even if it’s meant to – we’re witnessing a zombie plague of huge proportions and I’m pretty sure I don’t remember reading about that in my A Level history class. The prologue only serves to confuse us, too, as this film has nothing to do with present day USA. Also, Exit Humanity is simply a bit too long.

Despite being a compelling and classily made production, in reality Exit Humanity is simply a series of almost unrelated vignettes; a collection of shorts linked by zombies and a love of 19th Century deep-south America. It never outstays it’s welcome but does linger too long on some scenes and drags out the exposition to the point of patronisation.

There is also the niggling sensation during the telling of Edward Young’s journal that we’re somehow witnessing scenes that Young could not have possibly seen, and it makes the story feel a little false, even if it’s taken directly from his ‘journal’.

Despite all this, Exit Humanity is still a compelling, fantastically well-crafted horror / drama that focuses on the impact of the zombie apocalypse on one man’s life & fractured psyche, rather than deliver a balls-to-the-wall undead killing deathfest (and it’s better for it).

Exit Humanity is not for everyone. Some people will hate it with a passion and others will adore it. Luckily I thoroughly enjoyed my journey with Edward Young and firmly believe everyone involved deserves a lot of attention because of it. A quality – if flawed – production.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

One Comment on “Exit Humanity”

  1. Mike P. says:

    Just grabbed this from the RedBox for a late nite movie not expecting much…as a horror fan I am prepared, and often expect, to be disappointed. This movie actually really surprised me…it starts off slow(and is pretty slow throughout, but it fits the movie), but was just very interesting to watch one character go through all of the madness Edward did. For a low-budget little movie I thought it was very enjoyable and well-done…and the soundtrack the music editors came up with on such short-notice, and the meager budget, blew me away. In fact, I thought the soundtrack may have been one of the best things about this movie. An enjoyable experience that once again proves characters, atmosphere, and craftsmanship can outdo big-budget more often than not…

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