Useless Humans (2020)

A group of friends reunites at a countryside retreat to celebrate a birthday, once there, their secrets start to come out as they fight for survival against a mysterious creature and its device.

Written to Travis Betz, George Caine, Kevin Hamedani, Stephen Ohl, and Ryan Scaringe and directed by Stephen Ohl, this is a fun film with a side of nonsense. It’s the kind of film where the friendships between the characters are more important than the rest and where the characters are built as flawed individuals with two sides to their personalities, the one they show the world and the one they keep for friends and people close to them. Here these people with issues are shown coming together and being honest after a little bit of time about where their lives really are and how they care about each other. There is something in that that is endearing even as they say and do things that are off or wrong. They are people, learning to navigate life and managing to try to save themselves and potentially the world in the process as they deal with the mysterious creature that is roaming their area. The film works here because of these characters, even when they are not perfect with some of them being flat out annoying.

The main group of characters is basically almost all there is in the film and the group work they do here works together. The birthday boy Brian is played by Josh Zuckerman who does well with the part and imbues his character with sweetness and something different than the others. His work here fits the material and is fun once things get really going. Playing Jess is Davida Williams who is great to watch here. Feeling a bit off is Joey Kern as Zachary, but this could be due to how the character is written to be a pain and annoying. The way he brings him to the screen feels bit too much unfortunately. Luke Youngblood and Rushi Kota round out the group of friends and give their characters personality, for better or worse. One performer that should be brought up is the mysterious creature actor/performer James Croak who gives this being life and makes it fun to watch with a touch of retro in how this being is acting and looking. Making the creature look a bit retro is some great creature design.

Adding to the retro feel is the music by Matthew James adds fun and atmosphere with a touch of nods to past mysterious creature films. There is something in that music that is a lot of fun and it really fits with the film and adds to it. The cinematography by Scott Summers is fantastic. The film has a clear look and even in nighttime and darker scenes, the action is clearly visible which elevates the film from many recent movies that have wanted to have this much fun, but didn’t pull it off just like this one.  Here the lighting and music pair with the story and shenanigans on screen perfectly well.

Useless Humans has a few jokes that don’t quite land or feel off, but overall, it’s a fun and funny film about friendship and saving the world while completely drunk. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and that works great for the film overall. It’s a fun watch and one that could be even more fun with friends.