Fantastic Fest Review: ALMOST HUMAN: An Homage To The 80s Slasher Film

The night the pod person came home! Low budget gore at its finest.

Seth is not doing too well. A few years ago his buddy Mark disappeared, seemingly sucked into the sky by blue lights that enveloped his house. Mark’s girlfriend Jen still doesn’t know exactly what happened and suspects that Seth had something to do with his disappearance. The authorities do too, but months of investigation turn up no evidence and Seth is let off the hook, a broken man both from his experience and the scrutiny. He works in a hardware store and is known for his erratic performance. Meanwhile, Jen has been avoiding him.

One day news reports surface of blue lights in the sky of a nearby neighborhood and Seth knows that whatever it was is back. He doesn’t expect to see his best friend again, though. Mark is found in the forest by a duo of unlucky hunters, naked and covered in slime. Mark is no longer the man he once was, completely taken over by an alien being who seems to want to kill his way through the town. Seth returns to Jen to try and enlist her aid, hoping that she’ll be the only one that will listen to him.

The opening scene here is scary and jarring and mysterious, setting you up with lots of questions, but Almost Human doesn’t seem interested in answering any of those. Instead it becomes a much more typical slasher film - one hugely inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing, but still mostly concerned with gore and a body count. It’s fitting, because the movie is set in 1987, but anyone not looking for an alien Terminator killing his way through the town should avoid it. This one’s more for the horror crowd than the scifi one - there’s not much exploration of just what the aliens are, although it’s a bit unsettling when you see what Mark’s up to.

It’s also one of those movies that perfectly captures the feel of another decade. This is an 80s horror flick through and through, so well done that you might be able to convince someone that it’s from the period if they didn’t know any better. Too many filmmakers blatantly reveal a film's time period with posters and music and props but there's nothing to blatantly point out that this takes place 30 years ago besides the overall feel. It's excellent.

Competent acting and nice, gruesome effects (especially near the end!) help elevate Almost Human above its very low budget. While the decision to go for a more straightfoward slasher (albeit with an alien antagonist) might disappoint anyone looking for something deeper, fans of low budget horror films will find it a short, nasty treat.