Humane Review

Caitlin Cronenberg does her family name proud in this Dystopian future where families are asked to Euthanize members for the greater good.

Humane review

PLOT: In the wake of an environmental collapse that is forcing humanity to shed 20% of its population, a family dinner erupts into chaos when a father’s plan to enlist in the government’s new euthanasia program goes horribly awry.

REVIEW: The modern era consists of a lot of uncertainty. Whether it’s climate change or nuclear war, there’s no telling what the landscape of our future will be. And I love it when filmmakers provide a glance at those dystopic futures. Hopefully, they serve as a message of what not to do and provide a window into a future we want to avoid. Humane takes the ever-present crisis of climate change and combines it with a fascist government hellbent on a solution. Marking her directorial debut, Caitlin Cronenberg continues her family’s pursuit of thought-provoking cinema with an intense journey through family pain.

Humane follows the York Family as they gather for a special evening. The parents (played brilliantly by Peter Gallagher and Uni Park) have decided to enlist in the government’s euthanasia program. Given their status in society, they want to serve as a good example for others. But their kids have been raised in the lap of luxury and don’t have quite the same sense of altruism. So when one of them is forced to enlist, things go haywire.

One aspect I enjoyed the most was the family dynamic at play. It’s clear which children are considered the successes and which are the disappointments. So when the decision of who to enlist comes up, it’s easy to see arguments for each side. Emily Hampshire and Jay Baruchel are great as the darker, more clinical siblings. Their pursuits were more in the name of power and money. Meanwhile, the other two (Sebastian Chacon and Alanna Bale) have creative pursuits and are considered failures. I know it was easy for me to pick a side as I always side with lovable losers.

Humane review

I absolutely loved Jay Baruchel here because he’s such a slimey douche and provides a lot of the humor. On the page, the character is such an awful person whose delusions echo much of the upper class. But by casting actors like Baruchel and Hampshire, there’s more of a shock factor when their characters do something twisted. They also share the ability to cut through the tension with a bit of dark comedy. I also loved how much Peter Gallagher really embodied the loving father. I half expected him to be a Logan Roy-type. And Enrico Colantoni is utterly perfect as Bob, the official tasked with Euthanizing the Yorks.

“These rules aren’t made for people like us.” This theme permeates nearly every aspect of the screenplay. Whether it’s the forbidden foods that they’re able to ingest during a massive food shortage or the manicured, green grass during a climate crisis, their luxuries exist in the face of tragedy. It’s easy to compare it to recent times, where life didn’t change for the rich and well-to-do, meanwhile, the have-nots struggled immensely.

There were some inconsistencies like the sun being bright enough that they have to put tint on all of the windows, but not bright enough to kill all the grass. And there are some definite holes to poke in the enlistment program itself. But I feel it’s all purposely vague in order to add a bit of reality. We wouldn’t know absolutely everything going on and sometimes life becomes satire. Bob may seem absurd to some, and to others, he represents every bad person in a role of authority.

Humane review

Caitlin Cronenberg does a good job in her feature film debut. There was obviously a lot of pressure given her family lineage but I think she delivers a great thriller. She’s not as flashy as her brother and has a more simplistic approach. But she manages to build a very interesting world and has a way subverting expectations. The camerawork is a little plain and could have used a more kinetic approach at high-stress moments, but it works for the stageplay style of the narrative. The gore is brief but handled wonderfully. Don’t go into this expecting a bunch of body horror.

While it may have been an uncomfortable experience, I really enjoyed Humane. The subject matter is like a window into our possible future. Much like her father and brother’s work, I left this with a slew of questions, with none of them needing to be answered. It’s simply fun to let them swirl around and compare the situation to the ones happening today. Caitlin’s camerawork isn’t as showy as Brandon’s and her body horror isn’t as intense as David’s but she still possesses the same ability to build a cinematic world that intrigues.

HUMANE IS PLAYING IN THEATERS ON APRIL 26TH, 2024.

Humane

GREAT

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About the Author

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.