The Evil In Us
While on a fourth of July holiday, six best friends fall victim to the insidious plan of a mysterious organization when they are unknowingly transformed into bloodthirsty cannibals.
August 29th, 2017
Jason William Lee
Jason William Lee
You have to know it’s a bad sign, that about 10 minutes into a movie you’re reviewing, that you’re already thinking about the most appropriate (and fun for the readers) way to shred the hell out of the terrible film you’ve just begun.
After a sea of possibilities on the new horror flick The Evil In Us – I realized that the answer was right there in front of me. The DVD case prominently displays the tagline:
“Side effects may include: Insomnia, rage and cannibalism.”
Oh, marketing folks, when I’m looking for the best way to complain about a film – you can sometimes make it so darn easy.
When watching The Evil In Us: Side effects may include: Crippling boredom, pulling your hair out by the roots and praying you’ll never have to see a movie this bad again.
When responding to that “never have to see a movie this bad again” — and with the seemingly never-ending sea of bad horror films so far this year — I have but two words: Fat chance.
The Evil In Us is about six post-college-aged (and interchangeable) douchebags and skanks who go to an island off the coast of Seattle for a July 4th celebration. They take some questionable drugs and it turns them into hallucinating, flesh-eating psychos.
Every possible cliché has been employed here – annoying young people, rural location cut off from the rest of the world, questionable local hicks warning and/or threatening the lead characters, a cabin in the woods and one of my personal favorites – which doesn’t get enough airtime: opening a door to find one of your friends (whom the audience knows is now dangerous) with their back to you and then going up to them, taking them by the shoulder and having them then turn around and of course, they’re dripping blood and salivating and vicious. I’ve simply never seen this before.
The backstories of these characters are horribly flimsy. You won’t give a rat’s ass about their well-being. In fact, the faster these folks die off, the faster the movie will end – so keep that in mind. There are attempts to make us feel for the lead couple, with their apparent new sobriety, but it’s just not fleshed out at all.
There’s a constant “Let’s pull a prop from the convenient prop table!”, whenever something is required to move the story ahead – it’ll be there. A flashlight, some sort of tether, and most notably a hammer. There’s no attempt to set up or explain the convenience of such items – they’re just right there. And this is a symptom of the big problem of The Evil in Us. Everything bad about this film (all of it) is a result of simple laziness. This story, these performances and this film-making is lazy.
The dialogue is also so atrocious – you’ll want to go back into post-production and change the “written by” credit to be just that – including the quotation marks. Get it? And it seems quite obvious that a great many of the scenes are ad-libbed by the cast – most notably when the situation is high-tension. If every other word is “fuck” or some form of that curse, then there’s a more than decent chance that the scene was all about the improv. Ugh.
The score from Sam Levin is never more than two things. 1) A rip-off of the score from the Dawn of the Dead remake. And 2) Every single “quieter” moment is backed-up by piano music straight out of Days of Our Lives (stole that from my husband – but dammit, it’s apt).
And note: If a film is to be set in the US (even if it is close to the border), but clearly shot/produced in Canada – then get your Canadian actors to say words like “house” or “out” in a non-Canadian manner. On the same note, if you’re showing a person who is supposed to be a Texas congressmen – two things – since he’s listed as “Secretary of Defence” on the news program where he appears, then use the US spelling of defense – not defence. Note the difference. And, as mentioned above, why does your Texas congressman have some psuedo-British/Australian accent? It’s all in the details.
And speaking of details, things like police uniforms and signage (for hospitals and police stations) need to look authentic. When they don’t, it’s a distraction. And adding things like semi-threatening locals (the two fisherman) with absolutely no pay-off or having the lead cop smoking a joint on duty (with no history as to why) become wastes of time.
There are three disparate stories in the film (the structure is terribly odd) – which thankfully finally connect in the end (barely), but by then – your eyeballs will have dried out after the continuous stretch of eye-rolling incited by this nonsense. And frankly, that final connection is terribly idiotic. And the multiple endings (I wanna say 4 total – 3 for each of the stories and one extra) makes the film feel even longer than it actually is. All I wanted was for the film to end, and it seemed to go on and on as we needed to close up all of the many stories. The ending for the main group’s story was sort of Night of the Living Dead/Friday the 13th in nature – and was just terribly executed.
There is not one good actor in this film. And I am usually a critic who tries to find something or someone of value in any project, no matter how awful. But there is no one with any acting chops present. And in this painful parade of bad actors – you’d think it’d be hard to pinpoint the worst of the worst. But in this, we’ll have to call out two of creepy old dude’s (Robert Leaf) star patients (in one of the three stories) – stuck in a room as they turn violent on one another. These actors couldn’t even make me believe that they were afraid or in pain – even in the most basic way.
There are also some terrible missteps in casting (besides just everyone). The two main cops (in one of the three stories) – apparently are supposed to be veterans of the force – look like they just graduated high school.
And finally, the aforementioned creepy old dude who is running experiments on random, no-named, character-less people – is shown having some sort of shock therapy treatment in this random scene. Huh? It’s absolutely pointless and you’re left wondering: What in the hell was that all about and why was it necessary?
The Evil in Us (a totally non-sensical title – it’s the drugs which throw folks over the edge) is scare-less, suspense-less and unworthy of your time, money and sanity. It’s just plain awful.
The film will be available on DVD/VOD on August 29th, 2017.