Inhumanity - A Timely Story Told in Familiar Tones
Inhumanity is a film that lives up to its name in the most melodramatic sense. The story of a rapist serial killer, a shadowy corporation, a corrupt police force, and a young woman surviving a violent trauma is extremely topical and well timed. In the same instance, however, it’s equally formulaic and nonsensical with cringe inducing performances and effects. It’s a real mixed bag of a movie in terms of story, character development, and topics and I’m going to try and tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of it without being inhuman myself.
The story is equal parts derivative and innovative as it explores some of the more base and unpleasant aspects of human nature. Six Pack Sam is a rapist and serial killer who has kidnapped the daughter of the detective who is hot on his trail. Intent to add her to the steadily growing list of victims, he is captured by a group of corrupt police officers working for the Korb corporation. The conglomerate intends to “cure” the deranged murderer of his tendency towards violence and make a tidy profit from the resulting science. Meanwhile, Sam’s wouldbe victim Jessa wakes up from a three month long coma to find her father is dead from an alleged suicide. She is not only coping with her grief and trauma but being gaslighted by doctors working for the corporation who have created an elaborate, though not very well explained, conspiracy.
The basic idea of Inhumanity begins as a way to tell the story of a victim dealing with and overcoming her trauma and gradually evolves into a story of intrigue, action, and revenge. It’s a story that is timely considering the current climate in which victims of violence, abuse, and a culture of aggression are finally beginning to be able to come forward to seek justice. There have been a few films in recent months to explore this including Guilt/Girl and it’s great to see it finally being brought to the table cinematically.
The unfortunate parts of Inhumanity’s story are, well, the story itself. There’s a lot going on and in order to fit it all in to the run time the audience is left guessing at some of the connections and character backstories. Simply put, I got the gist of the characters, their motivations, and their relation to the story but it felt painfully manufactured rather than developing organically. Some characters, especially those working for the corporation and Dr. Campbell, the mad scientist pulling the strings, could have done without any development at all allowing more screen time to be devoted to other elements of the story.
There’s also the inescapable connections to both Frankenstein and A Clockwork Orange. The process of “curing” Six Pack Sam is, basically, a chemical castration with a self destruct switch implanted in his neck. Without a regular course of treatment, his base instincts return and he will eventually suffer a lethal overdose from the implant in his neck. Meanwhile, Dr. Campbell is obsessively drawn to the killer to the point of orchestrating murder and gaslighting the surviving victim to try and convince her that her own father had been the one to assault and nearly kill her. Add in some monologuing about aspects of philosophy, the nature of good and evil and it feels a bit cheesy.
Okay, here’s where I am going to piss off a LOT of people. Sorry in advance but I will never accept computer generated muzzle flash and blood spatter. Period. It’s cheap, lazy, and as an avid film fan, feels amateurish. Especially when the programs used to generate these effects look like the ones my teenage son can download on his phone to make movies. Using the low end CGI sparingly in background shots or as a part of a film designed to purposefully satirize or be funny is one thing. Using them in lieu of actual effects. If you don’t have the pyrotechnic knowhow to use a blank cartridge in a gun or to create a squib for blood splatter, maybe consider other means of shooting the scene. Be creative. Be inventive.
Don’t take the easy route.
That said, there were some fun shots in the movie where lighting and cinematography were downright artistic.
Inhumanity is definitely worth a watch. The story it tells is unique enough and the time is right given the state of the nation and the industry right now. I’m not sure that it’s going to have a high rewatch value but it is definitely an experience worth having.
Inhumanity hits video on demand services everywhere August 14th.