In a genre stuffed to the eyeballs with zombie films, the zombie genre continues to explore new ideas with zombies merely a backdrop for good storytelling. In “Exit Humanity,” an atmospheric meditation on being a parent in post-Civil War America, the zombies are just another hazard in a dangerous world.
Narrator Brian Cox shares the story of Edward Young (Mark Gibson), a soldier of the South who loses his wife and son to the zombie outbreak. Distraught, he plays with his life in a game of Russian roulette, only to decide on a new course of action: Young will spread his son’s ashes at a scenic waterfall he promised to take him to.
With this singular goal in mind, Young sets out across a blasted countryside, facing down zombies and looters before he meets a fellow soul Isaac (Adam Seybold), who has a nobler cause in mind. Isaac’s sister Emma (Jordan Hayes) has been kidnapped by the mad general Williams (Bill Moseley), who is hell bent on finding a cure to the zombie plague. Williams is convinced he can find someone who is immune to the zombie plague and thereby create a cure.
There’s a bit of a logic leap in this plot twist: it’s never made clear why Williams would think a cure is feasible and why such a cure would be found in a person instead of say, a flower or a medicine man’s poultice. But once the basic nature of the plot is set up we know that any hope of a cure is most assuredly tied up in Isaac’s quest to rescue his sister.
The movie is told in chapter format, as written down by Young in his journal. The beginning narrative implies that a zombie plague has returned but never addresses what’s happening in the present — it’s besides the point. Instead, we’re treated to beautiful sketches that bridge each scene, skipping ahead to propel the narrative. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen nearly enough, and there are interminable sequences where not much happens. Youngs spends a lot of time roaring into the wind.
There’s not a lot of twists in the ending. The beauty of a well-crafted zombie film is that it’s about people first, zombie second, and “Exit Humanity” is no different. But it’s a little too plodding, a little too meandering a little too self-absorbed with its heavy themes of forgiveness and rebirth, to be really be entertaining. “Exit Humanity” is a bit of a snooze at times and that’s a shame, because it’s cinematography is beautiful enough to take time to drink in. I just wish it was a little shorter.
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