Starring: Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Eddie McGee, Trista Robinson
Director: Paul Hough
Running Time: 87 mins
The Human Race is an American film about 80 people who are mysteriously transported in an undisclosed location, where they are given the simple instructions to race for their lives, without straying from the path or being lapped twice.
A low-budget horror with a far-fetched premise? What’s not to love? Well, while The Human Race surprises and impresses with its unique story and occasionally interesting themes, its more comical horror tendencies undo a lot of its good work. With a rather repetitive plot structure for the majority of the film’s second and third acts, the film lacks the energy and entertainment factor to really grab you, ultimately coming across as more of an amateurish affair.
However, while the film does look fairly simplistic and low-budget from the outset, it’s not quite as simple as you may expect. Yes, its core premise is a little ludicrous, and some of its horror is just a bit too comically gory, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t ingenuity on display here, and most of that comes through in the film’s story.
Above all, the premise itself is something that you don’t really see from mainstream cinema. Of course, there’s a reason for that, and The Human Race’s struggles to keep life in the story over a feature-length film are a key demonstration of the weaknesses of a film that almost entirely focuses on a group of people running around a track. However, the film takes a bold and unique approach to its story, and keeps pushing forward with it, bringing in new ideas that do set it apart from simply moronic low-budget horrors like Birdemic, ThanksKilling and the rest.
In that, there’s some genuine thematic depth on display here, and it’s the film’s interesting (albeit often hyperbolic) assessment of the nature of faith and religion that actually makes for intriguing viewing. Of course, its real depth isn’t quite as impressive as many bigger films, but the way in which it relates the bizarre situation its characters find themselves in with theological ideas such as purgatory does indeed give the story more depth than you may expect.
Of course, the reality of this movie is still that it’s just not all that good. As a low-budget horror, it doesn’t have world-class acting, writing or directing talent at its disposal, but the film’s biggest weakness comes in the development of its story over the course of its second and third acts, which is really rather dull.
As silly and ludicrous as it is to watch a bunch of people run around a track to save their lives, it’s really repetitive, and while the film does well to bring emotional depth into play in the opening twenty minutes, there’s very little in the way of character depth and development in the latter stages of the story, which makes for fairly boring viewing.
And also, its brand of horror is just a little too comical to let you really take it seriously. Again, low-budget special effects don’t do the film any favours, but when it tries to create genuine emotional drama, it’s often overshadowed and/or cheapened by excessively gory horror.
Overall, The Human Race isn’t the world’s greatest horror movie, but it’s far better than many other low-budget entries in the genre, largely thanks to its unique and often bold premise that, while not perfect, offers up some interesting viewing from time to time, and that’s why I’m giving it a 5.9.