Thursday, October 2, 2014

Film Review: Almost Human (2013)

Almost Human (Review)
United States/2013
Version Watched For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...entertaining and short enough to recommend to those looking for a time-killer."
 
Years after disappearing in a flashing blue light, Mark (Josh Ethier) reemerges and his friend, Seth (Daniel Radcliffe What? This isn't Daniel Radcliffe. Oh, I mean Graham Skipper), believes Mark is responsible for a string of violent murders...

I guess that's pretty much the entire plot. The film begins with Mark's abduction, then skips two years into the present. Seth was suspected of Mark's disappearance, but released due to the lack of evidence. Now, he's treated like he's crazy and has constant visions. Anyway, Mark returns and begins to kill people while planting aliens – or something among those lines. It may not be eventful, but it was engaging enough to keep me hooked. The final act drags its feet, and the ending is underwhelming.

To be perfectly honest, Almost Human reminded me more of The Terminator than the slashers that this film supposedly drew inspiration from. Maybe it was me, but the film shares many similarities to The Terminator. Otherwise, it's a standard slasher with a throwback atmosphere. In this case, it's kind of disappointing to see a decent concept become something clich̩ Рwe don't get a lot alien films, nowadays, and this feels like just another slasher.

Fortunately, it is a decent slasher. The suspense the film builds is mostly mild, but occasionally strong. I didn't bite my nails or forget to breath, but it kept me engaged. The gore is good, though. Gallons of blood, dismemberment, and decapitations. It's consistent when it comes down to its violence. It's not particularly terrifying or even scary, but it is exciting.

The acting is mediocre. It's partly due to uninspired performances from Josh Ethier and Graham Skipper, but I think it's mostly due to the bad dialogue. It just doesn't sound natural, at all. The film looks good, though; I also liked the camerawork. The music was also great; it's part of the throwback-vibe the film creates – it's probably my favorite part of the film. The gore isn't half bad, either, although I do strongly miss Tom Savini; I like the practical effects, though, I always appreciate it. Writer and director Joe Begos pens a lazy screenplay and story; his direction is efficient enough to capture my attention and keep me hooked, but it also suffers from some lack of consistency.

Overall, Almost Human is a decent slasher. The story has a handful of glaring issues, but the slasher elements work out well enough. It's far from the perfect slasher and it's definitely not the best throwback (leave that to Ti West and the House of the Devil), but it's entertaining and short enough to recommend to those looking for a time-killer. By the way, this film has almost 10 minutes of credits, which makes the runtime barely over an hour and ten minutes – a very short film, indeed.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, nudity and (alien) sex.

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