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Live Evil Review

Live Evil is a 2017 (VOD) horror film about supernatural forces locked into a college town police force’s basement jail, leaving only those with the strongest wills to survive.

Horror is perhaps the only genre in cinema that has a rabid fan base devoted to ultra low budget titles, films made on the cheap that feature all kinds of blood, beasts, bodies, and boobs. Obviously, they tend to arrive like locusts at Halloween, but in truth, they flourish all year round. One debuting on VOD this holiday is Ari Kirschenbaum‘s bizarrely fun Live Evil, a twisted, macabre tale of ridiculousness that thrives in its truly outlandish style and commitment to horror lunacy. It’s the end of the world.

In a small university town, on Halloween night, Deputy Sheriff Hancock (Charlena Amoia) begins the night putting down a wounded buck in the road before heading to a sorority house party where someone or some-thing is on a killing spree. Taking the form of a nude, buxom co-ed, it’s clear she’s possessed by a demonic presence, one Hancock wrangles in and delivers to headquarters, depositing in the basement jail cell. The girl, glowy-eyed and oozing all sorts of gooey evil, seems to resemble whatever the viewer wishes to see, mostly that of serial killers and such and it begins to turn the place into a madhouse as the evil spreads like an infection, pouring out into the streets and … raising the dead.

There is absolutely nothing conventional about Live Evil, a film that works hard to keep you off balance, half of it in rich black and white and layered in a purposefully trippy score of drips, pings, discordant piano notes, pumping drum beats and assorted creepy noises before flipping it all upside down. It’s not always clear what is going on and Kirschenbaum seems to try as hard as possible to keep us off balance, even while it leaps off the cliff with glee. It’s never once scary, avoiding just about every expected horror trope in the book, instead choosing to be a bit of a black comedy doused in blood, using a surprising amount of high quality visual effects to great use. It’s not funny, but it sure is amusing and packed with style.

For campy fun, it has a lot to offer, from decidedly awkward performances that seem to be treading a line between bad on purpose and bad because well, they just are. Though that excludes Amoia who is the best thing going in the film, a constant presence of sanity in a swirling vortex of anything but. She stares straight-faced into all of it delivering clever quips such as, “It’s not a brown out. It’s evil” with a kind of knowing wink. Vladimir Kulich does some good work as well and Tony Todd (Candyman) shows up with all the Tony Todd you’d hope for. 

If there’s anything that works best though, it’s Kirschenbaum direction and unusual storytelling style that makes this weirdly watchable, from numbered, titled chapters to some truly inspired moments with his camera that are just subtle and clever enough to make this a lot more entertaining that it has any right to be. At one point, a character asks, “What is going on here?” and you can be damned well sure you’ll asking the same, and yet, if you’re willing to stick it out until the color comes and allow that wickedly infectious score to settle in, Live Evil is downright fun. Yes, it’s corny, and it’s nothing like any horror, zombie movie you’ve seen, but with tongue firmly in cheek, and one enormous loving nod to John Carpenter, this might be the alternative Halloween horror film you’ve been looking for. It deserves a rabid following. You’re gonna ‘get it’ and love it or you’re gonna quit it and forget it. I went with the former.

Live Evil Review

Movie description: Live Evil is a 2017 (VOD) horror film about supernatural forces locked into a college town police force's basement jail, leaving only those with the strongest wills to survive.

Director(s): Ari Kirschenbaum

Actor(s): Charlene Amoia, Vladimir Kulich, Tony Todd

Genre: Black Comedy, Horror

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