Gritty Survival horror with marvelous filming locations
Professor Schneider and his two closest assistants travel to a remote Alps valley region in Switzerland for an essential anthropology expedition, as they found strong evidence about the origin of the human race that could actually alter all existing evolution theories as we know them. Inevitably, things go wrong before they get worse. Much worse.
With France undoubtedly being the best horror-producing country at the moment (points of reference include: (Inside), , (Them) and ), this brand new movie was high on my must-see priority list as soon as I noticed it was programmed at the 27th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in my home country. I was even more confident upon learning that the directors of Humains are the same guys responsible for the genuinely masterful make-up art in the aforementioned À l’intérieur. This is the debut feature of the duo Jacques-Olivier Molon and Pierre-Olivier Thevenin, and they opted for a gritty survival horror concept with solemn anthropological undertones and a consecutively bitter ambiance. The plot is too absurd to label the film as an instant classic and it takes slightly too long before the pace properly picks up, but Humains is nevertheless a professionally made and highly compelling shock-adventure with truly stupendous filming locations and a fantastic, unremittingly barbaric last half hour that will cause you to leave the theater speechless and in a moderate state of shock!
Professor Schneider (Philippe Nahon) and his two closest assistants travel to a remote Alps valley region in Switzerland for an essential anthropology expedition, as they found strong evidence about the origin of the human race that could actually alter all existing evolution theories as we know them. Shortly after their arrival, and after picking up a stranded and constantly bickering family of three, their minivan dramatically crashes down a mountain. The survivors are first subjected to a devastating showdown with nature itself before facing a rough and deadly confrontation with the greatest anthropological discovery in history. The cinematography is stunning and the suspense gradually builds up towards a few very intense climaxes, but the major plot twist halfway into the film is just too implausible. Also, I’m afraid we’ve seen a bit too many variants on survival & backwoods horror lately and the large variety of inbred freaks, hillbillies and mutant families simply aren’t that menacing anymore. Not even in this case, where we’re dealing with bona fide and unhinged cavemen.
Still, the acting performances are stellar (Dominique Pinon is brilliant again) and the make-up effects are obviously grandiose, with a handful of stomach-churning death sequences that are jaw-dropping cruel. Humains is definitely recommended to experienced fans of grim survival horror and even to admirers of National Geographic Channel; as long as they fast-forward the sickening parts.