Written & Directed by John Geddes
Starring: Brian Cox, Mark Gibson, Dee Wallace, and Bill Moseley
A young man’s struggle to survive in the aftermath of a deadly undead outbreak during the American Civil War.
So, wow. This popped up in my recommended movies on Netflix, and they were dead on..no pun intended. Edward Young is a soldier in the Civil War, a husband, a father, and an unfortunate survivor of a zombie onslaught in 1865. The undead plague washes over the Tennessee countryside, leaving Edward alone after having to kill his wife and young son after they’re infected. The transition Young must endure is overwhelmingly brutal. Every painstaking detail of his shift to a man alone is documented on the screen. Driven to near insanity, he tries to kill himself under a haze of whiskey. After he fails even that – he gains motivation to move on and scatter his son’s ashes along his trip to any hope of peace he can find.
This succeeds in ways movies like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter didn’t. Young (Gibson) forces us to feel his pain and eventual rage for revenge as the movie progresses. Presented as a tale from Young’s journal and interwoven with creative animation, this film blew me away. Young is the perfect protagonist, demonstrating his pain, humility, and desire to do the right thing in the face of numerous intense situations. By the time the film brings us the antagonist, Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects/House of 1000 Corpses), Young has proven his commitment to good and justice. While I can’t rave enough about Gibson’s performance, Moseley was somewhat of a disappointment. Never really given the back story or usual commanding lead, his role is an afterthought of sorts, but we need a human to hate among these shambling zombies.
The location, set design, score, and lighting are near perfect. It was easy to believe this was post Civil War Tennessee. Taking place exclusively in isolated forest settings of Canada, the bare, withered trees and streams serve as a grand supporting role all its own. By the time Young has his enemy in his climatic sights, his transformation is amazing. Take Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead and remove his wife and son from the equation – here you have the emotionally charged Edward Young. I knew nothing about this film going in and I was pleasantly surprised to walk away wholly satisfied. Clocking in at just under two hours. Exit Humanity is right in time for Halloween and available for steaming via Netflix. Enjoy, kids.