Unhuman (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Unhuman (2022) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on May 31st, 2022 | Movie Review | Slasher, Comedy, Survival, Campy, Teen, Gore, Zombie, Zombie Comedy

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It's about a bunch of high schoolers who must survive a zombie outbreak when their school bus crashes in the woods.

Unhuman was directed by Marcus Dunstan and stars Brianne TjuAli GalloBenjamin WadsworthDrew ScheidLo GrahamC.J. LeBlancUriah SheltonPeter GilesJoshua Mikel, and Blake Burt.

The dead will have this club for breakfast.

Unhuman (2022)

High school is often considered the best four years of one's life. However, high school is a time of great stress and anxiety for many adolescents. The pressure to fit in, make friends, and succeed academically can be overwhelming. In addition, the hormonal changes that occur during puberty can add to the emotional turmoil of being a teenager. For these reasons, high school can be challenging for many adolescents. In Marcus Dunstan's "Unhuman," high school teenagers must also confront the horrors of a zombie outbreak on top of the everyday stressors of being a teen.

When Marcus Dunstan collaborates with Patrick Melton, you can expect a grisly and often gory time. Look to The Collector, The Collection, Feast, Into the Dark's "Pilgrim," or a few Saw sequels. The latest film from the duo, Unhuman, continues their energetic style, applying their savage sense of humor and bloodletting to a high school scenario in the manner of John Hughes. The result is an entertaining twist on the familiar pangs of navigating the adolescent social hierarchy.

Ever feels lost and out of place, struggling to fit in and figure out her identity, especially when compared to her best friend Tamara, who is more extroverted and confident. In addition, Ever is struggling emotionally when a school trip goes awry, and students are left stranded in the woods during a strange outbreak. High school cliques become meaningless, and friendships are tested as the survivors must rely on each other to make it out alive.

Dunstan and Melton's retro The Breakfast Club-style movie is reminiscent of high school stereotypes. The mean girl cheerleader, bullying jock, outcast Randall, nerdy Steven, and even the out-of-touch teacher are quickly introduced. In "Unhuman," Dunstan sets up the relationships between the characters before sending them into the woods with the infected killers. The film has a lighthearted horror-comedy tone with some immature jokes and a high body count, reminiscent of 1980s horror movies.

Dunstan's stylishness, a propensity for bloodshed, and high energy level keep the otherwise familiar formula interesting. Tju convincingly establishes herself as a female lead and makes the audience invest in Ever's heroic virtue and emotional weaknesses. This is especially impressive considering she has all the striking characteristics of a Final Girl.

There is more to this outbreak than meets the eye, and the back half evolves the outbreak narrative into something entirely different. While Unhuman goes all-out for high octane thrills, the third act reveals a few problems with character development. Central relationships lack the development to make their emotional conclusions feel earned, making them seem contrived or empty. Not all of the humor or happy moments work, and sometimes a joke is more likely to get a groan out of the audience than a laugh. Unhuman once again demonstrates the struggles of being a teenager attending high school without ever experimenting with anything new.

Worth Watching?

Dunstan is not interested in trying to create a deep or meaningful experience. His goal is simply to deliver a slice of horror with a warped sense of humor. Dunstan seems to be channeling John Hughes in his high school horror comedy, but his sensibilities and delighted taste for gory violence place it closer to James Gunn's Lollipop Chainsaw. That's good news for fans of irreverent, splatstick humor. Unhuman is not particularly deep or complex, but it's still a lot of fun. Dunstan often goes for the silly option, but it's evident that he's enjoying himself. This sense of fun is quite contagious.

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