Ginger Nuts of Horror
ANTIHUMAN = ANTICLIMAX
This is an odd one and not a good one.
It is promoted as having similarities to Orphan Black and Resident Evil. All I can think of is that whoever works in the publicity department and came up with that either has never seen either Orphan Black or Resident Evil, as Antihuman has about as much in common with either of those as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has with The Sound of Music.
First of all a major gripe (for me at least)
There are certain things I’m not a fan of in movies and tv series, one of the biggies is a score which tramples all over the dialogue, and Antihuman regularly has that. It’s damned annoying and doesn’t add anything to the ‘action’, not as if there’s a lot of action in this film as it’s one of those long-winded ‘films with a message’ which is slower than molasses running down a glacier. One thing there’s a lot of is dialogue, and that comes across as somewhat stilted especially when two people regularly refer to one another by name when they are the only ones talking with the sort of delivery expected of amateur theatre. It’s all rather ‘arty’ and much of what is being said is either self-indulgent pointless bollocks or very simple facts being delivered as if they are somehow answering the mysteries of the universe.
I think there’s an attempt to be ‘unique’ and to instil a meaningful depth in this film which is marginalised by the basic content.
The main character is Maggie, who returns to a now abandoned psychological research facility her deceased mother worked at and died in. The first 25 minutes or so are spent skirting the issue that Maggie is dying and that there’s more to it than meets the eye, but it’s all a bit tedious, especially given that every time there’s a ‘serious moment’ there’s the awfully intrusive music.
One of her friends, Peggy, has for some reason swapped names with Maggie as they apparently have the same name. That could be considered bizarre except that for some reason people christened ‘Margaret’ (Maggie) are often known as ‘Peggy’, I only know this because I had an ‘Aunt Peggy’, so yes, there’s some sort of logic there but why they bother with that is beyond me as it would be lost on most people.
After a lot of ‘talky bits’ we’re treated to some nice visuals of the Earth/stars and a dream sequence involving a sunset , a supposedly scary guy, a sky full of birds and radio static/warning sirens before things go apocalyptic.
It’s promoted as being in the same mould as Orphan Black and Resident Evil, but I’d be very concerned about violations of the trades descriptions act as to me it just comes across as a very beautifully filmed load of bollocks.
There’s a lot of camping in the woods going on, and as someone who has spent a lot of time in tents it was lovely to have that actual atmosphere with the sound recordist capturing the reminiscence of early morning nature waking up in the background even though that’s overdone and excessively loud. At the 40 minutes stage we’re still not at the psychological research facility, so no closer to the actual truth of the story. Five minutes on from that, after a soul-searching bi-lingual (Russian parts with English subtitles) conversation with the remains of a dead bird, we finally arrive at the research facility which is a sprawling red brick affair with scarcely any of the decay we usually see in horror films. So far I’m finding this to be slow going and although there appears to be a serious attempt at creating something special it’s coming across as more specious. Half way through the film and the worst thing that’s happened so far is that the main character Maggie had a nosebleed; it wasn’t even a gusher, just a drip. The bone dry dialogue is getting to me now; I’m somehow missing the point of this film, if indeed it actually has one. The supporting cast members do little of any value, and it’s all rather tedious. The dream sequence was pointless, even if visually arresting, and it was about as frightening as leftover porridge.
After a few minutes of more random conversation Maggie buggers off into the woods where she meets a guy who used to work in the building. There’s a totally pointless exchange between them which to me is just more piling on of the film’s sense of self-importance. There’s nothing of Orphan Black or Resident Evil in this, and to claim a comparison for promotional purpose I would call misleading to say the least. Maybe other people can see it, but I can’t.
There’s around half an hour left of this and my mind is sorting through loads of scenarios of outcomes which could vastly improve the story but the fear here is that it’s going to be as vapid throughout as it has been so far. As the main character Maggie is dying I suspect that there’ll be a ‘Sixth Sense’ attempt at a revelation in which all of them are just facets of a dying woman’s character, which would be piss-poor but I’m half expecting that. I would say that even ‘The Butler Did It’ would be a great revelation at the moment, but as so far there has been nothing happening that could be blamed on a Butler even that’s a stretch.
It has a lot of the elegance of an Aronofsky picture but none of the grit and at the moment the pointless back and forth of stating the obvious in monotone is getting beyond tolerance, especially as the score isn’t necessary here adding nothing to proceedings.
It’s trying to be something special and failing. The sound mixing is OTT for most of the film, the dialogue is largely what I would expect from arty drama students and the lame attempt to have some sort of breath-taking message about humanity is laughable. Whatever notions of some sort of fitting ending I had in mind were thwarted by yet another arty tendency of not actually providing anything satisfactory to the point where we have no idea what happens to anyone except for a hinted-at apocalypse. It’s quite easily one of the most boring films I’ve seen in recent years but I dare say that strokey-beard poseurs and philosophy students will love it.
Anya Korzun, Danielle Arden, Andrew Jardine, Katie Keight, and Kathryn Goldsmith star in a film by Luke Gietzen and Mark Robins which I am struggling to say anything really positive about, which is why I haven’t except that it’s visually pretty.
Antihuman is now available on VOD from Wild Eye Releasing.