Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
February 1st , 2008

Exit Humanity

Exit Humanity
Directed by John Geddes
Written by John Geddes
Starring Brian Cox, Mark Gibson, Dee Wallace
103 mins

I have to admit, I'd been looking forward to Exit Humanity for some time now. A Western zombie tale? Sounds pretty good to me. But sometimes, the premise may be original, but the execution is less than pleasant.

Exit Humanity takes us to Edward Young's house just after the Civil War. His son recently disappeared. And his wife just got killed. Just when you think that's about the limit of suck one lifetime can produce, you have to consider how Edward's wife died. She was attacked by the walking dead, which appear to have recently come back following the horror of the Civil War. Now, Edward's set off to find the missing boy, but what he finds waiting for him might well be worse than any zombie could concoct.

First, this is a Bloody Disgusting Selects title. They've had something of a mixed bag so far, with some solid successes like Rammbock: Berlin Undead and Yellowbrickroad, but they've also had some truly godawful slop like The Woman to account for. And I'm certainly caught up by the idea of a zombie story set in an unusual era, something I've thought should be explored a bit more often in filmmaking, or at least in books or comics or the like. Now, that's a pretty substantial check this movie has written before it even starts. It's got a decent pedigree, a tremendously unique idea

The execution, meanwhile, is--like the entire Bloody Disgusting Selects line--a mixed bag. They're using the full Romero Classical rules set, complete with head wounds as instant death and a full fear of fire, and it's certainly interesting to see it in this setting. But Exit Humanity suffers from one major flaw: its pacing. The movie has an incredibly deliberate, some would say downright slow, pace to it that will undoubtedly grate on some. The pacing does lend it a note of authenticity, however, as many Westerns were deliberately paced. But still, with the element of the zombies involved, a note of haste would have been more appreciated.

Exit Humanity isn't a bad movie. It's not poorly done, or poorly acted, or even poorly written. It's just entirely too slow for its own good. That's about the only real complaint that's possible from this one, and that's kind of a sad thing to have to object to. Exit Humanity is a bit on the dull side, and a bit on the slow side, and that's about the worst thing to say about a zombie movie.

The ending suffers from the same slow pace as the rest of the movie, but has a sufficiently uplifting theme that it can, essentially be forgiven. It may not have been ideal, but it worked out reasonably well.

The special features include audio options, a director and cast commentary, a director and producers commentary, and a making-of featurette.

All in all, Exit Humanity is not the ideal zombie Western, but it may well be the first, and that gives it a bit of pride of place. It's not anyone's idea of perfect, but it should do the job for those willing to endure the occasionally glacial pace.