Saturday afternoon we have some high-adrenaline thrills and chills for you, with The Human Race, a grindhouse-style feature written and directed by VFF alum Paul Hough. The "race" is to the death, as 80 people plucked randomly from their everyday lives must race through an obstacle course: “Stay on the path or you will die. If you are lapped twice, you will die. Do not touch the grass or you will die. Race or die.”
If you liked Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, “you will constantly be entertained” here. Part of what sets this film apart is its large and diverse cast of characters from all walks of life, including young and old, male and (pregnant) female, physically fit and disabled, white-collar and homeless.
This film has been described as “an extremely effective high concept thriller that belies its budgetary constraints with those all-too-rarely-used secret weapons: strong characters and fine acting.” For example, the one-legged Iraq War veteran played by Eddie McGee. As one reviewer put it, “Eddie is great in the film, showing charisma, acting skill and action-hero chops. He is faster and more agile on crutches than some people are on two feet. Trained in Toronto by one of Jackie Chan’s students, Eddie does all his own stunts including a mind-boggling fight sequence.”
Another reviewer writes that, “In a ballsy move, director Hough allows big chunks of the film to unravel solely through subtitled sign language exchanges, but to his credit this actually works quite well, and along with McGee's physical performance, give this a unique vibe that we don't usually [see] in more mainstream fare. Hough also thoroughly examines the baser part of human nature (hence the doubly appropriate title), with some coming out as noble and heroic, and others turning into blood-crazed lunatics willing to do whatever they have to do in order to survive. Even people that start out as heroes may turn into monsters by the time the race draws to an end, as there can only be one victor.”
Screening Saturday afternoon (11/10) at 3:00.
By James Latham
The Valley Film Festival returns to NoHo for its twelfth annual celebration of independent film and local production, Wednesday, November 7 – Sunday, November 11, 2012.