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Human Zoo - Movie Review

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Human Zoo

Just how far would you go for a million bucks?  That’s the question central to the events in director John E. Seymore’s Human Zoo, a disturbing, psychological horror movie that is more a character study of us!

"Just how far would you go for a million bucks?  That’s the question central to the events in ... Human Zoo, a disturbing, psychological horror movie that is more a character study of us!"


Welcome to the Human Zoo.  As an inhabitant of this place, you get a bottle of water and a box of food slid to you every single day.  But you see no one; you go nowhere; you are the animal.  Keep telling yourself that it’s only a movie, but this film - shot on a shoestring budget - certainly feels very, very real.

That’s a blessing and a curse for this movie as normal, everyday people - actors Trista Robinson (Echoes of Fear), Rachel Amanda Bryant (In Bed With a Killer), Jose Rosete (The Walking Dead : Red Machete), Jessica Cameron (To Jennifer), Megan Le (No Matter What), and Heather Dorff (Truth or Dare) - are chosen as contestants for an internet game show in which they are locked in an 8 x 8 cell to see how long they can live in solitary confinement.  Could you do it? 

Sounds easy, right?  They have a bucket for their waste and are given one meal a day.  And, with only the camera broadcasting their every move, these contestants live out their days in the competition.  Some start out strong and others doubt their very entry into the competition from the onset. 

But, for a movie, you really need to prepare yourself.  The narrative IS the internet broadcast and, at times, it gets really grueling but - for those up to the challenge - there is a reward as these contestants go the distance and stretch their willpower before absolutely breaking to pieces.

After being interviewed, they are immediately chosen, showered, and shoved into the cells.  That’s it.  It is a bold move and one that the actors are up for, delivering some pretty terrifying performances of sheer, screaming madness as they beg to be released from cells that have no doors: only four, creepy walls.

As far as independent movies go, a movie like Human Zoo is a no-brainer.  All you need are the actors and the location, which - as we watch these actors absolutely lose their minds in these empty rooms - carries this movie to a pretty disturbing place and state of mind.  Human Zoo is an endurance test for the contestants and, at times, for the audience, too.  But never in a bad way.Human Zoo

The camera doesn’t move (until much later in the movie).  It is positioned in the same area of each and every cell and the movie unfolds by switching cells to see how each and every contestant is handling their solitary confinement.  The choice to stabilize the camera works to recreate the isolation effect for the audience and, as a bonus, creates a very unsettling film that feels all too real as these people plea for their lives and realize that, even when they throw up the “I Quit” sign they were told to do, no one is coming for them.

This May, Robert Carradine (Revenge of the Nerds, Escape from L.A) opens his Human Zoo.  The broadcast premieres on digital/DVD May 5 from Wild Eye Releasing.  Watch all you want, just don't touch or feed the animals.

3/5 stars

Human Zoo

Blu-ray

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Human Zoo

MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for crude sexual content and language.
Runtime:
109 mins
Director
: John E Seymore
Writer:
John E Seymore
Cast:
Robert Carradine, Jose Rosete, Rachel Amanda Bryant
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Escape is now an option.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Wild Eye Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 5, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: The internet watches live, as reality-show contestants struggle against time to see who will stay in solitary confinement the longest and take home the one million dollar prize.

Human Zoo

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