Human Resources (2023) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Human Resources (2023) Review

Horrorific content by angie on January 09th, 2023 | Movie Review | Supernatural, Thriller, Mystery, Dangerous Exploration, B-Horror

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It's about a new employee at a shady hardware store who uncovers a terrifying mystery involving a missing worker, the HR department, and a mysterious padlocked door at the back of the building.

Human Resources was directed by Braden Swope and stars Hugh McCrae, Jr.Anthony CandellSarah JoséTim MisuradzeMichael KammererAngel HiltonCalvin DevereauxThomas ConnellyAlison Stolpa, and Rachel Rial.

Human Resources (2023) Review

The title "Human Resources" is apt for the debut feature of director Braden Swope and his co-writers Evan Swope and Chris Kelly. It is a part of Brooke's Hardware's administration and reflects how their employees are viewed as expendable commodities. The film's prologue sets up this tone admirably.

The company owner needs a new employee for Black Friday, so the store manager is tasked with hiring someone even though they lack experience or qualifications. They think this is a good idea, as he'll have no expectations.

Brooke's Hardware Store is looking for a new employee, and they have no requirements except that the person is available to work on Black Friday. Sarah tells the protagonist that the store is usually dead except for Black Friday.

The first half hour of Human Resources introduces the viewer to the protagonist, Sam. Sam is a somewhat uninteresting and one-dimensional character. The director spends too much time on shots of the protagonist nervously creeping around or looking around, as if trying to portray him as a cowardly hero, like Shaggy from Scooby Doo. This doesn't land well. The film could have been improved by trimming down some of the scenes. Even though its pace would have been quicker, the main point could still be understood.

Despite a few strange happenings and the store creeping out Sarah, the film only gets interesting once Sam finds the notes left behind by the unfortunate employee from the prologue. But once our two leads investigate his disappearance, they're drawn into a rabbit hole that begins and ends with the padlocked door at the back of the store.

Since we don't get to find out what is happening behind the scenes until the film's last few minutes, the film needs another source of conflict to keep the viewer engaged. Brian is aware of what is happening, but he is off-screen for a long time, leaving a gap where an antagonist should be. In addition, the film's pacing is an issue, as it feels like it is dragging in places. This prevents the film from being as exciting as it should be.

What is the true nature of Gene's character? Is he a genuinely kind person or a professional 'fake' like many managers and HR people can be? How he promotes Brooke's as a great place to work and how much potential Sam has for growth will be recognizable to anyone employed in a low-paying job where motivational speeches were substituted for a livable wage as a means of keeping employees.

Despite working with a limited budget, Braden Swope, 19, delivers some impressive and atmospheric scenes in his first feature film. He and his co-writers also manage to pull off some nice plot twists, even if the final reveal isn't surprising.

Worth Watching? 

The main issue with the film is its pacing and editing - there are too many points where scenes can drag on for too long or shouldn't be there. With a better tempo and a more threatening presence, Human Resources could have been on a level with another seasonal retail-based horror comedy, Black Friday. Instead, it's a promising first feature that can't quite rise above average.

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