Human Zoo Image

Human Zoo

By Bobby LePire | May 17, 2020

Now, onto the issues. Excluding the auditions for the show that start the film, it takes a good long while for Seymore to move from the camera in the corner, aka the perspective of the viewer of the fictional show, to a more traditional third-person style. Of course, given the limited space of the room, when this switch over happens, it is incredibly close and intimate. The problem is that because it took so long for this style to emerge, and Human Zoo continues to cut between the two, that by the time this switch happens, it is jarring and takes the viewer out of the film. Since the move is such an intense, gripping watch up to that point, some 45-minutes in, give or take, breaking the spell at that moment leaves the film in tatters. A few scraps of which are still strewn about when the conclusion happens.

I hesitate to use the word “ending” there because that might imply some kind of resolution or denouement occurs. But sadly no, Human Zoo just ends rather abruptly, accomplishing very little. Seymore’s screenplay aims for a Cube or The Crazies situation, where the point is the utter hopeless scenario the characters realize they are in after such a hard-fought journey. The critical difference is that things still occurred in those other films – secrets revealed, characters have arcs, some are killed off that leave the others even more desperate. Those elements mean that the dire situations, in the end, leave the viewer feeling sorrowful for the characters they just spend some 90 odd minutes with.

“…an intense, gripping watch up to that point…breaking the spell at that moment leaves the film in tatters.”

Here though, nothing like that happens. Everyone’s mental state is in some form of deterioration, but is there any hope for recovery, or are they so far gone that it is futile? Sadly, because Human Zoo just stops, there is no way of knowing. And due to the nature of the storyline, no bonds between the characters are formed, so when one loses goes mad, it does not directly affect the others. This means that at the end of the day, the audience never felt like they went on a ride, they started where they began, maybe in a slightly more depressed mood. So, what is the point? As it stands, there seems not to be one.

That is what makes Human Zoo so frustrating. It is competently helmed by Seymore, whose ability to maintain tension and dread is second to none. It is highly original, and the cast is so amazing that it is only upon reflection that the viewer realizes how very little actually happens. Sadly, that lack of momentum coupled with the movie’s unceremonious ending means, despite how good elements are, there is no payoff to watching it.

Human Zoo (2020)

Directed and Written: John E. Seymore

Starring: John E. Seymore, Megan Le, Raw Leiba, Jessica Cameron, Kristyn Evelyn, Robert Catrini, Trista Robinson, etc.

Movie score: 5/10

Human Zoo Image

"…few of their releases are as absolutely frustrating as director John E. Seymore’s Human Zoo."

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  1. Johnny says:

    I just watched this film and I think this review is great, as are other ones I’ve read. The thing that intrigues me is no one has mentioned the characters numbers, surely this is integral to to the story, they run from 184 to 1000s ( sorry I’m not geeky enough to get this exact ) with these numbers, doesn’t this infer that the whole scenario isn’t some sadistic human experiment, its either actually hell, or if you don’t like the religion angle (re Immaeus) it’s H.M.Gs

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