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Human Resources is a horror/mystery film that also serves as a commentary on the drudgery of toiling away at a blue collar job in the days before the biggest shopping day of the year. Sam (Hugh McCrae Jr.) has just started working at Brooke’s Hardware. He soon discovers a dark secret his new employers’ have been hiding.
Pacing is a consistent issue. This is most obvious is the meandering first act. None of the scenes feel important with over the beginning half hour feeling like filler. The idea seems to be to show just how monotonous it is working at the hardware store. Aside from a Post-it left in Sam’s locker and the fact his managers cannot even spell Sam’s name right, no time is spent developing the workplace.
Characters could go a long way to solving this, but they are either too one dimensional or not well written. Sam is supposed to be affected by his anxiety, but that never really comes across. The end result is an erratic lead who makes pained faces that are sometimes appropriate, but often silly. Poor characterizations really start to stand out once the relationship between Sam and co-worker Sarah (Sarah Jose) starts to progress. She is supposed to be a source of inspiration, but it feels undeserved. When random inserts of her from previous scenes in the movie are incorporated later, it is more comical than anything else
Human Resources is a tonal mess that inelegantly moves back and forth between horror and mystery. When it finally does go all-in on the horror, it feels too late. The plot has been such a hodgepodge of happenings – including an unnecessary flashback – it is hard to remain interested.
That being said director Braden Swope (who also helped write the film) was only nineteen years old when he began working on Human Resources. There is lots of promise in his debut – the ideas are there, they just need to be tightened up, for example. His first movie may be a misfire, but it will be interesting to see what he has planned for the future.
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