“The most unique stage-to-screen adaptation I have seen.”
THE HUMANS (2021)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"Set inside a pre-war duplex in downtown Manhattan, The Humans follows the course of an evening in which the Blake family gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving. As darkness falls outside the crumbling building, mysterious things start to go bump in the night and family tensions reach a boiling point."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
The Humans, written and directed by Stephen Karam from his own one-act play of the same name, is the most unique stage-to-screen adaptation I have seen. As a massive fan of theatre, I am always hesitant to see how the emotions and directions written for the stage can be captured on camera, but Karam clearly had a very strong vision for how to go about this. The biggest asset that Karam uses in this film is the unconventional use of the apartment. The creaky and creepy apartment is just as much a character in this film as anyone else. Scenes are shot with walls and pipes and windows in focus, and partially obscuring the actors. It’s a choice that I wasn’t quite sold on initially, and actually found quite frustrating, but as the story progressed, the choice seems too perfect.
Everyone in the film is perfectly cast, and even the biggest haters of Amy Schumer, (I am one of them), will come to see that she fits very well in the role. Richard Jenkins and Jayne Houdyshell are by far the biggest standouts, both delivering extremely tangible characters with believable senses of humour, charm, and stifled darkness. The only criticism I have over the acting is that fact that we get those poignant close-ups or even mids for these brilliant actors to just act their socks off, but rather, we get those scenes while peering through a stained window or from across the hall in another room. Again, this was a very strong and artistic choice, but these performances were just so good that I wanted even more.
The writing is just a masterclass in humour and organic dialogue, the sound design gives a surreal and existential horror to the atmosphere, and the amazing score is used very limitedly in very impactful ways that gave me the chills.