With an all-star cast consisting of Steven Yeun, Richard Jenkins, Amy Schumer, Beanie Feldstein, Jayne Houdyshell, and June Squibb navigating familial anxieties in a post-9/11 society, The Humans sounds like an independent home run. Sadly, Stephen Karam’s directorial debut is so concerned with creating an accurate New York City apartment environment, that it forgets about its narrative.
Karam inserts a host of intricate and fascinating motifs like leaky pipes, jump scares, and dying light bulbs into the film, but they only momentarily disrupt the bored stupor that the rest of the film’s cliched, awkward Thanksgiving dinner puts you in.
The entire cast does what they can with the material they’re given, especially Amy Schumer, who turns in the best performance of her career. However, The Humans is a reminder that some stage-to-screen adaptations just can’t make the transformation to a new medium.
The Silver Lining
Cinematographer Lol Crawley is the key contributor to what little cinematic flair The Humans has. The empty motif of the burnt out lights in the Blake apartment allows Crawley to play with light and shadow in ways that are often only reserved to monochromatic features.
The Humans will release in select theaters and on Showtime on November 24th.