There has been a massive resurrection in the zombie movie over the last several years – the genre is at breaking point, straining under the weight of the undead. However, John Geddes’ Exit Humanity takes the zombie formula and mixes it with the western, a move which on paper sound ludicrous – but it works. Dances With Zombies, if you will.
The film follows Edward Young (Mark Gibson), a civil war veteran who returns home to live in peace, but his life plummets into turmoil when his son disappears and he is forced to kill his wife when she catches the zombie plague that is sweeping across the country. Edward sets off in search of his son and along the way meets other survivors (Adam Seybold and Jordan Hayesand), and an evil general (Bill Moseley), who is trying to eradicate the plague by conducting experiments on anyone who crosses his path.
It’s quite unfair to call Exit Humanity a horror movie, sure it features zombies, but the film is, first and foremost a western. John Geddes understands this and sticks to the confines of that genre-using the countryside and nature to add a beauty to proceedings – the zombie aspect is almost secondary. The zombies featured in Exit Humanity are a throw-back to the work of George A. Romero. These lumbering creatures aren’t the 21st Century speed-demons seen in recent horrors, they move at such a slow pace that they’re easy to pick-off at a safe distance-but the sheer number of them means that it is almost a futile job.
Exit Humanity was clearly shot on a low budget, but that’s not a problem for Geddes. He uses this to his advantage, keeping the story personal. He doesn’t over-reach, and uses his minimal budget to maximum effect. The world of the film feels real and lived in; it doesn’t feel that it was created by a film crew. The acting is also good. You sometimes find that low-budget films lack in the acting department, but not here. First-timer Gibson is a solid lead, and while he might do a tad too much screaming he anchors the film with believability. It also helps that the film is narrated by the great Brian Cox, while Dee Wallace also appears in the second act to add a bit of exposition. Bill Moseley is the villain of the piece, and he chews the scenery, giving it some old-school western charm.
Special credit must also be given to the score by Jeff Graville, Nate Kreiswirth and Ben Nudds. It’s haunting and melancholic, but it also knows when to hit the right action beats. Like I said previously, the film is light on scares (and gore), and if it has a flaw it is that it could use at least one bloody denouement. Having said that – as a western it works, and I feel that is what Geddes is attempting, and not a gore flick.
Exit Humanity is an exceptionally well made low budget film, showing that writer/director John Geddes is a talent to watch – and not just within the horror genre.
The DVD features a great (but very short) documentary which covers the production of the film. It shows the dedication of the cast and crew as well as the difficulties that they faced during the making of the low budget film.