The Human Race (2014)

Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-fi

Director: Paul Hough

Writers: Paul Hough

Starring: Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Eddie McGee, Trista Robinson

Rating: ★½

The Human Race has just entered UK Cinemas and this is something very much to my surprise; after viewing this low-budget mess of a film not so long ago I was very unimpressed and somewhat annoyed at Paul Hough’s creation. A fun and interesting concept is tangled within a very unorganised and unstructured plot, coming across very unentertaining and confusing, whilst performances and direction are again something that isn’t creditable.

The story centres on a group of 80 people, they find themselves standing on an unconventional race track but clueless to how they arrived. They have been plucked out of normal life and routine and now find themselves with those from all walks of life, young and old, homeless and upper-class, athletic and disabled. A voice in their heads speaks, a voice heard by each individual within their own language, it delivers simple clear rules and instructions “If you are lapped twice, you die. If you step off the path, you die. If you touch the grass, you will die. Race… or die.” Panic, terror and humour sets in but as a member falls onto the grass their head explodes ruling out any doubts, it seems that they all have to race till death and there will be only one victor.

The concept itself is something that is very strong and even reading that brief summary the film sounds inviting and action-packed but how the story is approached ruins all creditability. Our first main character in whom we follow for the opening scenes is wiped out, killed and exploded within the first seconds of the race, from then onwards we follow and recap the lives of a few more competitors and a final set of racers seem to emerge. At the forefront are two friends, Justin and Eddie (Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Eddie McGee) one is a likable children’s worker, the other an ex-veteran, alongside them are a deaf French pair who had previously been jogging before being transported to this undisclosed location. However as the voice counts down as another competitor dies our characters stories and plot lines seem to vanish, leading up to an absolute ridiculous ending which is unexplainable, wasteful and annoying to watch due to its confirmation to the fact you’ve wasted over an hour watching this film.

The acting is at times shocking, it comes across very unnatural and robotic somewhat dated too, it really doesn’t shout out 2014. In some respects the criticisms can be swayed to the script and poor writing, something that obviously didn’t give the actors and actresses much to work with. The deaf pair are completely annoying, their previous recap story is believable someone heartfelt however within the race what unfolds is truly horrible with even an unnecessary and slightly weird necrophilia rape scene taking up the screen. To accompany the overall concept on the list of positives the effects weren’t amazing but when heads start exploding in numbers it looked fun and provided some rare (very rare) entertainment.

This although a review of The Human Race is also a warning, I was annoyed I watched and experienced this master-class in being a terrible film but if I had paid to see this in the cinema I would simply… step on the grass. A fun concept and some equally entertaining head explosions and effects don’t unfortunately for Peter Hough balance out a really poorly developed film, one which is neither enjoyable nor easily watchable.