Notable Cast: Mark Gibson, Jordan Hayes, Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley, Stephen McHattie, Brian Cox, Adam Seybold
Review: Yet another creative entry, yet another Bloody Disgusting Selects presentation. Zombies and the Civil War…I’m listening. Wait, no, Zombie Civil War…NOW I’m listening. Somebody needs to pen that script ASAP. But for now, I’ll live with John Geddes Southern genre piece with a focus horror fans may not be expecting. New venues and periods are always welcome in the zombie genre, as sexy coeds can only be munched on so many times before repetition sets in. So why not break the mold with colonial atmospheres and old-fashion defenses? No machine guns, flame throwers, landmines, or laser technology for our pioneer cast. Just the wilderness, outdated survival skills, and the walking dead. For a casual horror fan, non horror fans, or occasional zombie fans, Exit Humanity stands as tired and dated as comparing the actual Civil War to a battle like D-Day. Everything we’ve seen before, only on a toned back scale. But those who can bite into the fleshy core of Exit Human will find a zombie film told only around one man’s harrowing and wretched journey, crafting the plague as a means to discover what makes a true man who he is. The blood and guts all play background to a wonderful story penned by Geddes and narrated by the stoic Brian Cox, so to call Exit Humanity a slow burn isn’t too far off base. Slow burn for a zombie movie that is, already considered one of the slower paces found in horror today. So take the lumbering dead heads, put them in a much less advanced time, and that will be all some people will need to judge Exit Humanity. Not for everyone, but John Geddes’ script is something horror writers try to do over and over again with zero success. You go Geddes.
Taking place as the Civil War winds down, Edward Young (Gibson) returns home only to find evil and terror unleashed amongst all. No longer do the North and South bicker, but a new common enemy has reared its decaying head: zombies. Killing his wife and scaring away his son, Edward’s homecoming is riddled with sadness. The lone soldier sets out to locate his boy, taking lingering anger out on the zombies who populate his path. Along his travels Edward meets a man named Isaac (Seybold), also looking for a missing family member taken hostage by a group of rebels hell-bent on finding a cure to combat the zombie outbreak. Working together as a reliable team, Isaac and Edward run the forest red with blood as they reach closer and closer to their prize. But the heartless General Williams (Moseley) is waiting at their finish line, promising to pose quite the problem between his faithful henchmen and warped thinking. Edward has given up on the notion of humanity as outcomes turn bleaker and bleaker, but does enough fight remain in the worn down being to see Isaac to victory and possibly make a miracle discovery of his own?
Bonus to living miles away from your neighbor? Miles for your murderers to walk…
So why will some people hate Exit Humanity? Geddes didn’t create a run and gun zombie movie with flashy special effects and adrenaline ride action, so those in need of constant elevated heart rate are out. Geddes sets up theatrical acts and walks us through the tumultuous life of Edward Young, dissecting his current state in increments. As already stated, Brian Cox provides a constant read through, revealing Edward’s inner thoughts as we watch the actions unfold on-screen. Such a unique voice guides us on a journey through Edwards soul and mind, unlocking the true motivations for his brash outbreaks and reasoning for his sorrow. It’s one thing to witness a man’s life fall to pieces, but hearing him rationalize sorrow through well thought out journal entries adds a meaningful note to Edward’s character. Exit Humanity is a character analysis and spends a ton of time developing Edward well beyond horror standards, but the sacrifice there lies with disappointing the horror population not giving a hoot about story. What is a strength can also be a weakness, depending only on the individual.
A stellar cast also populated Gedde’s undead terrain, crafted expertly I might add to fit timepiece feel and overall colonial style. Just like being transported to Williamsburg, except instead of annoying tour guides you get chased by flesh hungry monsters! Another great idea…but back on topic. Mark Gibson plays title character Edward Young, torn by the harsh realization all hope is lost and life has now become meaningless. Through fits of rage he expresses true emotion, howling out with pure fury like a mad wolf. Gibson portrays a broken man, and did so with gusto. As opposition genre actor Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects/The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) pops in as General Williams, yet another villainous role to tack on his ever-growing list, convincing yet again as a psychopath. Not to forget Wallace, Seybold, Hayes, and McHattie though, as everyone pulls together for a watchable brand of horror characterization. No hack-jobs to be found as our actors bring the past to life, and death to the undead.
It would be a jump to classify Exit Humanity as a “fun” horror watch, but that’s not always a bad thing. Geddes has created a viable piece of cinema within the boundaries of the horror genre, something deserving recognition. Hell, I would even go as far to call Exit Humanity artistic. Our director paints a bloody picture of human worth against a barren canvas, embracing the true definition of humanity. And don’t worry, not lost are scary zombies and gore so promised by the Bloody Disgusting label. Edward takes spurts of time out of soul-searching to brutalize some festering walking corpses for our enjoyment, armed with a bashing tool, six-shooter, and bolt-action rifle. Exit Humanity is a thinking man’s zombie movie in the end though, with themes that stick even after the deeds are done. Geddes manipulated death and monsters to deliver Edward’s hardened journey, defying odds and battling an onslaught of mental anguish. Screw the North and the South, John Geddes will rise again after a brilliant debut already garnering comparisons to visionary directors of our time. Not bad for an independent zombie film.
Final Rating: 7.5 racist zombies out of 10
Not very colorful except for the blood though….