REVIEW: ALMOST HUMAN / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JOE BEGOS / SCREENPLAY: JOE BEGOS / STARRING: GRAHAM SKIPPER, JOSH ETHIER, VANESSA LEIGH / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 4TH
Joe Begos’ debut feature film is a lovingly made and knowing homage to the glorious excesses of '80s horror. At a humble 76 minutes, Almost Human is filtered through the nostalgic haze of a childhood spent watching horror films and reading Stephen King novels.
Like the infamous lights over Phoenix in 1997, Almost Human opens with a statement of authenticity, which in film terms, of course, means it’s all made up. It opens with Josh Ethier (who also edits and co-produces) getting whisked away in a flash of light, to a chorus of a nose-bleed inducing noise. It’s a simple enough plot that proves alien abduction is still fascinating and ripe for the picking.
Begos doesn’t skimp on the gore front and the effects are especially good, with the axe-cam being a particularly gruesome treat. In fact, there’s video nasty-levels of mayhem and lashings of blood to boot, loaded with Re-Animator-style black humour.
That’s not to say it’s all bite and no bark, it taps into the idea of pod people, explored in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing, which, in the '50s, brought a nation’s fear of communism to the silver screen. While the commie threat isn’t a modern concern, the idea of an alien entity walking around as your next door neighbour is a chilling one.
The film is perpetually fuzzy, like a thrice-copied videotape, adding to the idea that you’re watching a lost '80s gem. Shrugging the film off as unoriginal is to miss the point entirely. Instead, it fills a void for good old fashioned horror: bloody, funny and creepy. Oh, and be sure and wait until after the credits.
Extras: FrightFest Q&A