PostHuman follows Terrence and his dog Nine in an adrenalized future of espionage, super science, and assassins.
Terrence agrees to help Kali, an escaped test subject from a black ops ESP test lab, in her effort to free the last surviving imprisoned test subject.
The assault on the lab is fast paced and intense as Terrence uses every hacker trick he knows to destroy the lab’s defenses and give Kali the opportunity to free her tortured lab mate, Benjamin.
Gritty, hyperstylized, and dripping with intense images, PostHuman is NSFW, for children, or adults with no sense of adventure.
That NSFW isn’t a joke either. There’s some real intense imagery happening on screen there. Brilliantly animated and blending styles, it’s the kind of film you don’t need to watch over and over, but you’ll want to.
Like all cyberpunk, it’s a tech driven anti-establishment story full of grit, violence, and nonchalance. We have a hacker plugging straight into computers to control tech from miles away to spy on secret tests in a military industrial complex. What he sees in there is a man jacked into technology, his face comatose and his body limp, fed by a tube. A military test is happening and a soldier starts shooting at Benjamin, the test subject. What happens from there is explosive, and really too brilliantly grotesque to describe. It’s something that needs to be seen.
And that’s the key to this very cool, very fun little film: it’s all about the visuals. In fact, there’s only one sentence of dialogue actually spoken, with the rest happening through a brainlink of some kind, where people speak right into each other’s jacked in hacker brains. Drumb builds an entire future here in just five minutes and we get all the genre touches we need to identify this as cyberpunk at its finest. Drumb uses the language of cinema to fill out this world and key us into what matters. Though only five minutes long, it rests in a much larger world that’s only hinted at, but that we already believe in.
When Terrence says the war’s coming, we don’t know what that means but we’ve bought into it. This simple act of espionage has kicked off something irrevocable, and the ramifications will cascade through Terrence, Nine, and Kali’s life, and we’ll see the weaponisation of Benjamin and probably others like him.
Like the best science fiction, it shows us unbelievable things and contextualises them in a way that sell us on the entire world. PostHuman taps into great cyberpunks from before, like Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Eden: It’s an Endless World, and even Neuromancer. We’re getting a gritty violent world where the difference between human and machine is disappearing, where people can plug right into the digital world.
Posthumanism is an endlessly interesting idea, and something I’m always thinking about is how humans are now engineering their own evolution, whether accidentally or not. We think in a fundamentally different way than people did 100 years ago, or even just thirty years ago. The advent and proliferation of film and television has changed the way we see the world, and the explosion and evolution of the internet has dramatically influenced the ways we interact with the world.
The tools we create are changing us, and we really have very little understanding of what will happen next, where we’ve yet to go, the ways that the technologies of today and tomorrow will change the humans of the next decade, let alone the following century. Technology hit an exponential rate in the 20th century, making the world of the 21st century completely unrecognisable to people of the 19th century. If this rate continues, and the world evolves with it, then the 22nd century will be astronomically different than where we are today.
PostHuman touches on all these things in just five minutes, and they do it without a word of explanation. Drumb throws us into this world and we’re already running towards violence and chaos. There’s no time to slow down and ruminate about the scenery, about the implications of having your brain physically connected to a computer, or anything else we see here. Hell breaks loose and we’re along for the ride. It’s awesome and grotesque and surprising, and I’ll probably watch this a few more times this week just because of how well it does everything, and how seamlessly we become immersed in its world.
There are big implications happening in PostHuman and it feels like the introduction to a much larger animated world. I would love for this to be a series or even a full length film, but, for now, we’ll just have to live with this hyperkinetic short cyberpunk film, and we can all cyberpunk along with it, imagining futures where humans and machines fuse and become something wholly different. Maybe horrifying or glorious, but that’s up to you, up to whatever or whoever we become.