Monday, March 3, 2014

Invasion of the Axing Pod People: Almost Human (2014)

Almost Human (2013)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Graham Skipper, Josh Ethier, Vanessa Leigh

Do you remember Without Warning? That B-Grade backwoods horror that churned up a slasher movie with an alien armed with parasites as its killer? Well, it looks like we're shaking that old stick again, only this time we're closer than ever to a real slashing!

Seth spent the last two years of his life troubled. Back in 1987, his friend Mark disappeared after a strange blue light sucked him into the sky. Almost everybody in town is uneasy around him since they believe that he may had something to do with the disappearance despite the lack of evidence. Things are bound for the worse when news of the same alien lights are spreading around town recently, somewhat alerting Seth of something that has returned.

True enough, it appears whatever that took Mark brought him back, though noticeably different; with an alien shriek and a murderous rage, he kills his way back to town, returning to the very last place he was before being taken, doing things on some of the bodies that further shows how far from human he is now.

The opening act may seems like it's building to something quite big but by the time our abductee reappear (which was about 15 to 20 minutes into the film), Almost Human (not to be confused with the Scifi TV series of the same name) grounded its intention to be an 80s styled slasher film with a string of murders, each in its own varying goriness. The plot is quite predictable but I do take kindly on the fact that some of the more clich├ęd slasher elements were taken out, or at least played around low-key, in favor of some genuine building tension and a nostalgic feel.

Much of the direction here is pretty slow too but it gave a lot of room for broodiness; in fact, I saw potential if it wasn't for familiarity of the plot slasher-wise. But the film did have its own surprises; those expecting a full-on scifi flick might be disappointment since the film played with these tropes with a tease. Who or what exactly changed our soon-to-be homicidal maniac wasn't fully explained but seeing the results of what they did to him (and what could be their plan all along) did make a great new motive for a killer to start mutilating people.

On a technical note, I love the use of blue-tint grain in the film's picture quality, going quite effectively with the outdoor scenes and claustrophobic shots, giving it an aged and dark feel. Special effects, especially the gore, were done traditionally with very few aid of CG, much to delight the inner gore fans in us. And then there's the score, which awfully reminds me of something John Carpenter would compose, practically a point up for this film in its attempt to make it all feel retro.

Not going to say this will please everyone as some might hush this film for being another trashy slasher, but for the right people (like me), that claim will always be a welcome mat for their taste as Almost Human almost hits the spot as a unique hack-a-thon all in the right ways.

1 male shot with a rifle
1 male had his neck broken
1 male repeatedly stabbed on the neck with bowie knife
1 male had his head shot off with a shotgun
1 male axed on the head
1 female gets a throat cut with bowie knife
1 male had his neck broken
1 male clone axed on the head
1 male clone gets his throat cut with hacksaw
1 male had his head shot off with a rifle
1 female clone stabbed on the temple with scissors
1 male ran over by a car
1 female gets her head crushed with a rock
1 male shot
Total: 14

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