FACE OF EVIL ** USA 2016 Dir: Vito Dinatolo 90 mins
This is a movie of two halves and if you make it through the first half you might be pleasantly surprised. Private Jay Williams (Scott Baxter), (N.B: note the characters surname for future reference) returns home from the middle East after a long and arduous tour of duty to a party thrown in his honour by his friends and family. After a while his ex girlfriend turns up and they go off together to “make up”. After drinking some dodgy Arabic liqueur the ex becomes infected and basically goes around killing all of Jays friends.
Managing to escape, Jay bumps into his old army Sergeant in a petrol station just as the infection begins to spread. Sarge (Chad Bishop) is convinced there is a government conspiracy attached to this epidemic so they embark on a dubious mission to uncover the truth. My main problem with the first half of this movie is that it seems to me to be a blatant rip off of the first two EVIL DEAD movies and not done particularly well either. The infected look and sound exactly like Deadites but are severely under played and made up. They even tried adding subtle similarities like sticking with the vintage American muscle cars but going with a Plymouth when you’re expecting a Delta to make an appearance. I wasn’t sure if that was a good touch or not. The acting is really quite awful to start with. There are the typical B movie characters you expect but dumbed down to the absolute extreme. With Janet Roth and James Hutchinson taking their ex girlfriend and perpetually wasted housemate characters to new lows of embarrassment. Scott Baxter is certainly no Bruce Campbell either, Chad Bishop tries to lift things up a bit and his character is probably the most entertaining and charismatic but there is no substitute for Ash Williams so I’m glad they moved away from Evil Dead territory before someone whipped out a chainsaw! The second half does go off in a different direction but it is again reminiscent of things we have seen a few times before however I was grateful for this change and it did hold my interest by taking a turn into the realms of the human mind and mental illness it redeemed itself slightly and finished with a very dark and sombre message. The camera work, setting and FX were nothing to write home about really. There is a bit of blood and some creepy contact lenses but a lot of it is shot in the dark and gloom so you don’t see a great deal. It has captured that B movie style and the script had some comedic value to it but I’m unsure if it was intentional. The soundtrack was pretty good and had some fun sounding tracks. With the Evil Dead movies being such cult classics I couldn’t help but feel that this was a slight insult to them so I cannot rate this movie highly. This may have caused me to have a slight sense of humour malfunction which stopped me from appreciating it more then I perhaps should have but that’s how I feel, if you are going to imitate a classic even slightly you have to make a bigger effort than that in my opinion.
Review by Sarah Budd