Sometimes all you want from a film, is something which allows you to sit back, switch off and enjoy ninety minutes of brash trash, without putting too much work in on your part. Well, if that’s what you’re after, then director / writer Jason William Lee’s homage to all those classic cabin carnage, video nasties will be right up your path.
For the truth is – though this gory take on the teenage zombie movie is so riddled with old school cliches – The Evil in Us is actually not bad. You know you’re in for fun from the moment the blood drenched opening credits begin to run. The faces of young women drowning in crimson oceans of gore may have little or nothing to do with the main feature, however with a vibrant hard hitting theme and graphics to match the viewer is left in little doubt that they are about to embark on a thoroughly grisly head trip if nothing else.
The film does become in danger however, of being tripped up by its ‘seen-it-all’ before aspects, which, unfortunately riddle it from the start. Six spoilt, rich kids – including three female Paris Hilton wannabes, and the token black boy who predictably is made the scapegoat for much of the ensuing mayhem – take off to a private island for a 4th of July weekend of sex, drugs and booze, check. Ramshackle cabin where all manner of nastiness plays out, and which looks like the set from 1981’s The Evil Dead, check. No way off the island except on a boat skippered by a moody, monosyllabic yokel, check. Kids get infected by something unknown which turns them into flesh eating zombies, after which all hell breaks loose … Well okay, this does show some signs of originality, but it is still basically not much more than a hybrid of countless other genre entries, given a shot in the arm – or, as in this case, up the nose – in an effort to inject it with some freshness.
If this had been all there was to the film, then it would likely have sunk without trace, and no-one would have given it a second thought. However in a stroke of genius on Lee’s part, he introduces a twist to the tale, which is not only totally unexpected but also perfectly feasible – or at least as feasible as it can be with hordes of zombies running amok. To reveal any more would be to spoil one of the film’s main attractions. Suffice to say that the result is sharply topical considering the political situation which the USA could face before the year is out.
The Evil in Us is unlikely to bring much in the way of lasting life to the zombie movie sub-genre. However, as a satirical take on the corruption of American politics and big business, coloured with a heavy dose of blood red horror, the result should get the popular vote amongst horror fans everywhere.
Cleaver Patterson (@Cleaver68 / @ScreenAndGone)