Nuclear Pictures brings you Inhumanity, a movie by writer/director Joe McReynolds and starring Waco’s Darcel Danielle, is the latest thriller brought to you by Wild Eye Releasing. Also starring Diana Rose and Ford Austin, it tells the story of Jessa Dixon (Danielle,) a survivor of the deadly killer Six-Pack Sam. After waking from a coma only to hear of the death of her father, Jessa then makes it her mission to find out the truth behind his death. Why did he kill himself? Why are his fellow police officers so evasive? And more importantly, where is Six-Pack Sam now? The movie is available now on VOD and DVD.
So let’s dive right in, shall we? You see this picture right here? This is how I felt about this movie. Maybe not the aggressive agony pictured here by the enigmatic Diana Rose, but frustration and a tinge of madness was had to be sure. What I felt while watching this is hard to define, just as the film itself is. I honestly was never sure what the project was going for. First we have a classic slasher-in-the-woods scenario, complete with a serial killer already famous enough to have not only a nickname, but a trendy abbreviation of it. Yes, SXPKSM definitely hits the ground running, and newcomer Leviticus Wolfe has true potential as a new horror icon.
But just as you settle into blood and guts, you are tossed into underground medical conspiracy. Oh! Ok, that’s a fun twist. There have been conspiracies of serial killers being the product of dark government experimentation such as MK Ultra for years, but it is rarely used in film which is always something I hope to see someday. Great! Let’s see this guy get the Clockwork Orange treatment, I’m totally in.
Cut to his last victim waking up from a coma and finding out her father died. Oh snap. Well, obviously we need to cover this. She is the lone survivor after all, clearly prime final girl territory. But…why did her father shoot himself? Is all this become too much plot to heap on one plate? This is when I began to worry. We now have serial killers, government conspiracies, crooked cops and a woman trying to recover from a life-threatening assault. And please know that besides a nun and a nurse, everyone Jessa comes in contact with is a garbage person. She finds out about her father’s suicide from the callous Chester (played by writer/director McReynolds himself,) mere seconds after opening her eyes. A psychologist barges into her therapy, sending her crashing to the floor and then pushing her into hysterics as she is pumped for information. Jessa doesn’t deserve the treatment.
What I feel this movie would require to become more enjoyable is a little drastic, but hear me out. Inhumanity should never have been a movie; it should have been two. The grueling two hours of being tossed around, twist after twist, plot to plot, would benefit greatly from being split into two and then filled out to an hour and a half each. In one corner, we have Jessa’s story of strength and struggle, recovering from her trauma and finding out the truth with her father’s murder. Make the offender a non-issue, save Six-Pack for his own movie, and give the focus to Darcel Danielle’s empathetic and quite inspirational struggle. That frees up Dixon’s half of the film to develop more, as well as giving the writer time to take a look at the script to fix plot holes and drop into the thriller vibe this storyline follows. The whole time I was hoping Jessa would get to go John Wick, but no dice.
This opens up Six-Pack Sam to do what he does best; rampage. Sam’s storyline has a whole different tone and style, which can also be looked at as a reason to give him his own film. After receiving months of hypnotherapy from the strange Dr. Campbell (Diana Rose,) he breaks free from the facility and gets right back to his old ways. Now, my personal tastes in movies falls more into this category, but I feel like Sam’s half of the storyline suffered. I just didn’t get enough of it. As much as I appreciate the nod to the original Co-Ed Killer, Edward Kemper, in Sam’s actual name, that was about where the similarities end. Sam is a muscular and brutal killer, who somehow also has the ability to kill at least 30 people at a frat party solely with a knife. No one ran, everyone just stood there. A much more involved murder spree is needed to find this believable. I need to see more than one or two people killed upstairs. I need Sam crushing people with tables, or breaking necks here and there. Weapon upgrades throughout the house perhaps, people RUNNING. His one massive slaughter, and it is lost to laser lights.
His doting doctor also could do with a little buff and polish. She is 100% indifferent to the pain and suffering around her and yet she somehow has 2-3 people ready to die for at the end. She’s sadistic and twisted and Diana Rose makes some scenes a pleasure to watch, but overall I kept getting confused on what angle she was playing at any given moment. And when does she have time to teach community college? Why?
Going back to looking at Inhumanity as a whole, the filming and sound itself is strong for it being Joe McReynolds’ second film. The quick cuts probably didn’t help my confusion, but what would ultimately break down to the most distracting issues isn’t the editing. The tone with some of the characters are so far off from either storyline I have mentioned that it yanks you out of everything you are trying to follow. The chief offender of this is McReynolds’ himself, who’s smarmy character of Chester seems to be straight out of a Funny or Die parody video. Javier Garcia’s meglomaniacal Andre Juarez is more of a petulant child who got hold of his dad’s golf clubs than the….smuggler? Evil mastermind? I honestly cannot remember if we were told. The charismatic Austin Ford as Sergio has his moments, but vomits far too much, and the alcoholism is shown very two-dimensionally. Throw in a random grindhouse-style filter on one random Sam kill and a “nuclear explosion” that seems to concern no one and you are just left looking at your phone.
I would be excited to see where McReynolds’ filmmaking takes him, because there is true talent there. His cast is clearly a wonderful group of seasoned actors and fresh, upcoming artists. Unfortunately, a little more time in development from script to screen couldn’t have hurt.