You know the film. It’s a film you have never heard of. The cast might be composed of actors you know and love or complete unknowns. You stumble across it on streaming and wonder if it will be worth two hours of you time. This series will be devoted to reviewing films like these, the strange items that pop up when you are looking for a flick on the streaming service of your choice. This is “We Found It On Streaming”
Release Date: June 3, 2022
Run Time: 91 Minutes.
A group of high school students climb on a bus for a field trip to study the wonders of nature. All your favorites are there: The jocks, the nerds, the popular girl, the girl who wishes she was popular and the girl who blends into the background. Halfway into the trip, the Emergency Broadcast System cuts in on the radio, saying the U.S. has been hit by some biological agent and it recommends people stay indoors. The distracted bus driver hits something that literally explodes across the windshield. With his windshield painted red with blood, the driver cannot see and runs the bus off the road, hitting a tree. As the adults on the bus try to figure out what to do, a man appears besides the bus. There seems to be something off with the man, but this doesn’t stop the chaperone from ordering the door opened to help the man. The man enters and…
Well, if you’ve ever seen a zombie movie before, you’ll know what happens next. Unhuman originally appeared on EPIX and a title card advertises it as a “Blumhouse Afterschool Special.” Yes, that is the same Blumhouse that gave us Get Out, Happy Death Day and M3GAN, so you know that this will be a film that will be a cut above your typical zombie fare with some twists and turns along the way.
The film follows the basic template for these types of movies for its first two-thirds. The survivors of the initial attack regroup and find shelter in an abandoned building in the woods. The group squabbles about how they should deal with their situation which breaks down over class lines. For example, Ever (Brianne Tju), the wallflower, wants to help her classmates who are trapped outside their shelter, but is ignored. She has as much difficulty having people pay attention to her in the zombie ap0calypse as she does in high school.
The film works best during this part as it plays with the conventions of the genre, alternating from paying homage to them to deconstructing them. There is a rising sense of dread throughout the scenes, and the acting, especially by Tju, is first rate and keeps you invested in the characters.
Then the twist comes in. I’m not going to spoil it for you, except to say that you will need a major dose of suspending disbelief for it to work. More than suspending the disbelief about teenagers rising from the dead to eat their classmates? Yes. Far more.
It’s a “buy the premise, buy the bit” type of scenario. If you buy into the twist, there the film will become a gonzo ride that will leave you satisfied. If you don’t, you’ll be liable to turn off the film and toss your remote across the room.
I kind of fell into the first option. Like I said, I like the characters and the actors that played them, and I was more than happy to keep watching to see how it all panned out. Your mileage may vary. But it might be worth a shot to horror fans who can’t find anything else to watch.
Have you found a film on streaming that you’d like us to look at? Leave it in the comments and it might appear in a future installment of this feature.