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Losing the Race (Spoilers)


Hidden beneath the weak cinematography, Lifetime Original soundtrack, and mediocre acting was a film that had potential in its premise. The plot of amnesia-suffering people trying to escape a well-designed trap is nothing new, but when you twist it around with so many ridiculous rules and weird happenings, it makes the mystery all the more appealing. It was this plot that pushed Efrit and I to the end of the film. And we were rewarded with a weird ending. But if you thought about it too much, the less sense it made.

Since spoilers were dropped pretty heavily in the comic, I will show no restraint here. The Human Race took an interesting concept and tried to play it out with a weak cast and an even weaker director. The story itself keeps you hooked till the end, but you are forced to endure ridiculous lines delivered by seemingly aspiring thespians fresh out of high school drama class. And while I wouldn't consider the ending disappointing, if anything it was very interesting, it produced massive plot holes that simply weren't answered.

Before diving into the ending I would like to compliment the film for two things. The proof of concept was interesting (a lot of philosophical points could be made in regards to the rules and how they were abused by the abductees) and no character was safe. Too often in horror you can weed out the survivors before getting halfway through the film. This makes the moments they are "in danger" far less visceral to the viewer because you know they will pull through. This film lets you know about 15 minutes in that it isn't going to take it easy on any of the characters, even if they just spent 5 minutes giving you a background on someone whose veins just exploded. It gave the film a level of uneasiness lacking in many horror films because you simply didn't know who was safe or who would die.

But then, we reach the ending. The protagonist from the beginning manages to pull through and we are given our reveal. It's aliens in a gladiatorial-type motif, abducting various intergalactic species. These species are forced to survive against their own kind in a winner-take-all volatile puzzle. Once a winner is decided, the species are then pitted against each other in a one-on-one gladiator-type style.

The fact that an alien race would abduct other species and force them to fight each other is not an issue I have with the plot. In fact, it makes a lot of sense that advanced races would still retain a level of entertainment embued with their likely instinctive taste for violent survival. And one means of satisfying this bloodlust would be to force other species to do the bloodletting. The problem I have is the selection process. Predators may not have been perfect, but at least it did one thing right. You take the best of the best. You don't just randomly grab a crowd of people with varying ailments and abilities and expect to end up with a premier fighter for your big battles.

And how did their seemingly incongruent rules properly conclude the best fighter? Why not immediately cut to the violent ends to justify their sadistic means? Despite these flaws, and the obvious production issues, The Human Race was not the worst movie we have ever seen. It had enough interesting concepts in it that, should you be in the mood, could be discussed after the credits roll. I'm not recommending the film by any stretch, but you could do worse.

© 2020 Sickle and Efrit | Dalton Vanhooser & Kyle Hagan