The Evilmaker (2000)
Director: John Bowker
Serena (Beaton) just got out of a bad relationship (her boy was nailing other broads) and is feeling kinda bummed about it. That’s until she hooks up with 3 of her friends from high school and head for the beach. The pleasure trip is cut short when they’re car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. They find a house and reside there until they can find a way back home. But they’re not alone in that house, a vengeful spirit resides there and he wants some blood. Where the axe at?
Ambitious low to no budget effort that strikes cords most small budget offerings don’t try to hit. The film is visually interesting, filled with nice shots, dreadful mood and interesting flashbacks. Bowker teases the audience with the flashbacks, not giving it all away till the last frames. The film definitely doesn’t go the way you think it’s gonna go.
Having four girls who are not afraid to take off they’re clothes, drunk in a deserted house, Arrow was expecting a crazy lesbian scene (secretly hoping). But the film doesn’t go that way. We do get nudity and Beaton in her underwear but Bowker gets it both ways. Gives enough skin to satisfy the horror porn fan but relies on the story and the characters to drive the film. That’s right people, a low budget horror film that’s character driven!
It helps that Beaton is very credible in the part of Serena and that the film’s main focus is her pain and relationship with her friends (specially Rachel). If she would have sucked, the film would have sucked along with her. I sometimes forgot I was watching a genre film and thought I was witnessing a drama. Well written drama in this kind of film is quite rare and took me aback.
When it comes to it's scares the film takes the old fashion route. It relies on creepy voices, dark figures and creepy tunnels to put the “py” in creepy. I will be honest and say that I was not scared once but I admire the effort.
The film does fall in the general haunted house traps, the main one being: Why the hell are you staying in the house when you know it’s haunted!!!!!!! The film does find half ass reasons to keep the gals in the shack and we have to buy it so we can go on. I half bought it…cause I wanted to and I went on.
My main problems with the film are:
1- The “strobe” light effects. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for strobe lights (Hey I liked Halloween 6) but in this case they are used too frequently and it’s virtually impossible to see what’s going on when the lights are flashing. I feel liked I missed a lot of the movie due to that damn light.
2- In his effort to surprise the viewer, Bowker gives us many twists, dream sequences and a purgatory sequences (I think it was purgatory). On a visual standpoint it’s very interesting, giving the movie a kinda of Lynchish feel but on a narrative vibe…Arrow got a bit confused. It gets a tad convoluted.
3- The film as a lot of ideas, some work and some don’t. Sometimes scenes work well on paper but fail on the screen. The only example that comes to my mind when it comes to this film is the scene when the spirit of Tyler meets Serena in purgatory. The scene I’m sure looked great on paper but comes across as way corny on screen. It took me out of the film a bit.
On a whole this is a well shot, decently acted genre effort. It concentrates on characters instead of gore, gives us lots of drama along with boob shots and will take you by surprise.
I was let down in that department. I mean there’s enough axe play, I expected a blood bath. No dice. We do get some minor gore but I didn't see it (damn strobe lights).
This is Stephanie Beaton’s best performance ever. She gives a strong, vulnerable and confident show that impressed the hell out of me and she shows her boobs, we get it all. Another surprise was Felicia Pandolphi (Rachel) as the Goth chick. She has presence to boot and gives a focused, controlled show that you don’t see often in low budget fare. The butchy Dori Shwartz (Tyler) does ok but really didn’t do it for me…maybe it was that awful jacket. Arlene Henry (Cindy)…one word describes her: wooden. She gives the weakest performance of the movie, right there with Alfredo (Todd) who manages to make an easy part (be aggressive) boring. It’s not hard being an asshole (I do it everyday) put some balls into it man! The lesser players thankfully don’t ruin the chemistry of the others.
T & A
Beaton in many stages of undress, Beaton giving us two tit shots. Arlen Henry (Cindy) also gives it up and sure knows how to pole dance with a wall…impressive…go girl!!!
My favorite scene has to be the drunken party scene. Bowker gives us great shots, wonderful camera movements and nice style.
An effective score that amplifies the “ghostly” moments and supports to “soap opera” perfection the dramatic moments.
A low budget flick that’s character driven! Right here baby. Along with the boob shots, we get drama and story twists that you won’t see coming. The script is good, the execution is sometimes off but in the end, this is an admirable effort .
For more info on this flick check out The Evilmaker site at: http://www.evilmaker.com/