Almost Human (2013/14)

No, this isn't a review of the short lived, ratings challenged FOX show about a cyborg cop, or what ever he was. I don't know, I never watched it. But what I did watch and what this is a review of (it always helps to review something AFTER you've watched it. Right Rex Reed?) is the independent film written and directed by Joe Begos that electrified audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013. The film first popped up on my radar when Begos and star Josh Ethier appeared on Adam Green and Joe Lynch's podcast 'The Movie Crypt.' I only mention is because you should be listening to 'The Movie Crypt.' It is simply the best podcast out there for anyone who is serious about getting involved in film in any sort of way. But, enough verbal fellatio, this review is about Almost Human, so as Michael Bolton says...let's get to it...

Almost Human is simple. Mark Fisher (Ethier) gets abducted by aliens. He gets returned 2 years later a lot more homicidal than when he left. There is a certain charm in that simplicity. At a brisk 70+ minutes, there really is no time for Almost Human to slow down. It's pretty plodding and relentless
for the last hour or so of the film.

While there is charm in it's simplicity, unfortunately, it's also the simplicity of the film that holds it back the most. Begos offers almost no explanation or motivation for Fishers actions other than he's just, well, Almost Human. While it's inferred the murder is just an unfortunate side effect of species proliferation, the film is simply more comfortable showing an unstoppable monster rather than devolve into a philosophical discussion regarding motivations.

That being said. The film still works. For a low budget, independent film, Almost Human, knows what it needs to be and delivers in spades. The acting can be spotty, but the leads all deliver, so you are never taken out of the moment. The gore and effects are very good, with only one or two moments where you think "Damn, I wish they had more money to do that right." Those few short comings do not take away from the overall viewing experience.

Almost Human is a relentless, driven, straight forward, experience. It's like a Dio era Sabbath song. All the nonsense is cut away, with only the the most essential moments left for the audience to savor. Check it out if you are looking for a tight, well made scifi/horror hybrid that won't bore the crap out of you with some attempt at deeper explanation.

Almost Human is currently available on Netflix. Dial it up and take a look. It's certainly worth the time you would spend watching reruns of iCarly.

*** and a half stars out of *****

As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich"

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