Title: Level Above Human

Also known as:

Year: 2015

Genre: Independent / Short / Sci-fi / Horror

Language: English

Runtime: 22 min

Director: Alex Poray

Writer: Alex Poray


President Laine is starting a space weapon program, but fails to win the population over. To get them on his side, he spreads Vision X, a hallucination drug, upon the city which causes people to believe they are surrounded by aliens.

Our thoughts:
Alex Poray was previously featured on Film Bizarro in our review of his film "The Slayers: Portrait of a Dismembered Family". The movie did not get a raving review from us, but there is no way to use that movie to know what to expect from "Level Above Human". The differences are huge: this time we have a short film, made like a comic book, with a "They Live" and "The War of the Worlds" inspired plot. This is a far cry from the horror mockumentary that "The Slayers" was. Despite not knowing what to expect from this short, you're likely to have your mind set in just a few minutes due to how peculiar the style is (note that this is not an animated movie, it's still images - like a comic book).

In a corrupt world, the worst president in history wants to launch a space weapon program. Unable to win the trust of his people about the weapon, he unleashes the hallucinogen Vision X in a trashed up town called Snake City. Vision X turns the military and their vehicles into aliens and UFOs in the eyes of the population of Snake City. Perhaps now the people will agree that the space weapon is a good idea? McKagan is the only person who can help stop the mayhem that president Laine has unleashed.

The idea of a corrupt government, surveillance and alien conspiracies is something that has been relevant for a very long time, so a movie like "Level Above Human" will always have a spot to fill. It's hard not to draw similarities between the world of "They Live" and 2016, for example. Alex Poray's vision is perhaps not a telling of Nostradamus as such, as it comes off as too much of a tribute and love letter to a genre for that, but one of the strongest points of "Level Above Human" is that it treats its subject with love.

The comic book style is hard for me to get into and it quickly throws me out of focus, but it is well done considering the small scale of the production. The style fits very well with the topic and the colorful aliens just remind you of classic comic books (as intended). Still there is a part of it that looks like MS Paint mixed with comics, but it didn't bother me too much. Considering the story and performances are all sincere enough it kinda works, but there is still an unintentionally goofy/stupid sense to it, which is something that "The Slayers" also suffered from (that's not to say that everything about "Level Above Human" is intended as serious).

"Level Above Human" is an odd beast. I was constantly conflicted by being intrigued by the passion behind it and how well it sold the atmosphere, but in the end it's very difficult to make a good short film - let alone a good short film that only uses comic book still images. "Level Above Human" treats its subject well, but personally it was mostly a fun experiment to watch rather than a good movie, thus not reaching its full potential.

Positive things:
- Interesting idea.
- Has an atmosphere that mixes "They Live" with old comic books.
- Made with love.

Negative things:
- It's hard to get into.
- Feels like a tribute more than its own thing.

Gore: 2/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 1.5/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 1.5/5

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