Highly entertaining and bloodthirsty.

by Nav Qateel

After watching The Human Race, and finding myself suitably impressed, I decided to have a look at writer-director Paul Hough’s short films. I found Angel on YouTube and advise you to give it a quick watch. It’s only a shade over seven-minutes and introduces us to his main character, Eddie (Eddie McGee), who is playing a different type of one-legged character in the 2007 short film.

I knew next to nothing about McGee as I have a massive disliking of all reality TV, like Big Brother or Honey Boo Boo-type exploitation TV nonsense that we’re constantly bombarded with. But I did learn that McGee won Big Brother on its first airing. I can’t say I’m surprised, as he shows amazing agility, a great attitude and a screen presence that makes him work well in front of a camera.

The Human Race
Written & Directed by
Paul Hough
Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Eddie McGee, Trista Robinson
Release Date
10 March 2014
Nav’s Grade: B-

The Human Race is about a large group of people who have been zapped from an LA street block and then find themselves in an outdoor arena of sorts. It looks like an old abandoned low-risk prison with barbed-wire on the roofs. The group consist of various nationalities, including two deaf people. When a voice is broadcast to all the victims, explaining the rules of the game they’re about to play, everyone can understand exactly what’s being said in their native language, including the deaf couple. “Race or die. If you step on the grass you’ll die. If you get lapped twice you’ll die.” Yeah, yeah, we get it. They’ll all die anyway.

We then jump to flashback mode, where we see a young woman being told by her doctor that her results are clear. She’s just escaped cancer, a cancer that had recently killed her younger sister and her mother. But the celebration is short-lived, as her route home from hospital means she’s driving on the same block as all the other abductees, putting the woman in the race. But just when we think we might have someone to root for, our new heroine steps on the grass where we witness her head vanish into a gory pulp. It’s clear director Hough didn’t intend to play by the standard narrative rules on this one. And The Human Race was all the better for it.

We get to see heads explode and people murder one another, as they try to remain the last one standing. But we also get to see acts of kindness, as some try to help the others that are about to be lapped. The main two characters, Eddie and Justin (Paul McCarthy-Boyington), are war vets, and we see a flashback where Justin saves Eddie’s life in Afghanistan after Eddie’s leg is bullet-riddled. They too are on the same street block, putting the two ex-army buds into the race. And while most folk are acting like savages, these two show more compassion than most of the others they’re racing against, making them our instant faves.

The Human Race is highly entertaining and bloodthirsty, with loads of twists and turns to keep you guessing as to who’ll survive the ordeal. Plus, answer the question of where and why this is all happening in the first place? The ending was a bit cheesy, however, not entirely unexpected, yet satisfying none-the-less. I’ll eagerly await Paul Hough’s next effort, with the hope of at least the same, or even better still to come.

Highly recommended.