To say that Exit Humanity is a zombie movie set during the Civil War era seems misleading since the zombie factor is more of a background element of the movie and doesn't really take center-stage. The driving force of the film and what's really at the heart of the story is the main character's relationship with his family and how he copes with his grief from their loss.
It was more of the Civil War aspect that sold me on the film initially. Amidst the slew of zombie apocalypse movies I've viewed on Netflix, this has got to be one of the better ones but it's not without flaws. It wasn't great but it wasn't too unbearable to watch either.
This film exuded a big budget feel throughout with haunting shots although that bluish tint throughout became harder to look at after some time (or maybe it's just me). Its use of animated sequences (similar to the ones in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows) to move the story forward works in this case. It wasn't overused and the quality of the actual animation was equally impressive. The division of the film by chapters as written by the main character in his journal, was also a clever way of breaking up the film into segments that displays Edward Young's (played by Mark Gibson) journey and transformation.
The performers played their parts well especially the lead character. Yes, this is despite one major complaint from me which is coming up in the next couple of lines. There were parts where it felt like Edward's crying and wailing would never stop. Picture the end of the film version of Stephen King's The Mist where Thomas Jane lets the most heart-breaking rip-whatever's-left-of-my-tormented-soul kind of wail, only it doesn't stop. Or it stops for a few segments then he continues where he last left off. Understandable of course, considering he had just lost his family, but still...how many times are they going to show him drop down to his knees and cry. After the first few times, it's pretty much understood that he is a grieving man. We got it.
I also had some worries with the narration in the beginning. I was concerned that it would be overdone and we'd be continuously told about the story rather than seeing it for our own eyes but thankfully the narration was used in moderation and only when it was warranted.
The soundtrack for the film wasn't bad either. It had that Appalachian twangy sound that lent itself to the period piece.
The zombies didn't seem like much of a threat really. The make-up was alright considering the Z-Horde weren't really the main focus of the movie. I think they were trying to do too much with this film, trying to address way too many things. It was like an attempt at horror (scare factor was not there to be honest), with social commentary infused, and a bit of love story thrown in for color.
There was one main source of distraction for me though and I just couldn't get past it which essentially brought down the level of authenticity of it being a period piece - the leather jacket. I'm no expert in Civil War era clothing but his leather jacket looked like he stole it from the Rocketeer's closet. Plus I think I saw a zipper on it.
Exit Humanity is not your typical non-stop action-packed gorefest. So if that's the kind of movie you're into, then let me save you some aggravation and just skip this one. This movie is more of a slow burn. If you're up for trying something different then you just might enjoy this drama set in a zombie-infested 19th century setting.
In a nutshell, this movie gets brownie points for the animated sequence, the soundtrack and the overall visual production.
It gets points deducted for the seemingly out-of-place Rocketeer jacket and the excessive dramatic wailing.
ApocalypseHub gives Exit Humanity (2011) 3 out of 5 stars.
Director: John Geddes