Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Evil In Us (2016) Film Review
In May 2012, a vicious attack on a homeless man in Miami led to panic across the Western world about drugs called bath salts, which could supposedly turn people into cannibal maniacs. Although no evidence was found that the assailant had actually taken those drugs, an idea was established in the popular consciousness that still hasn't gone away. Jason William Lee's debut feature speculates on what might happen if such a drug fell into the hands of terrorists.
We open with the aftermath of an incident involving the drug. A police detective (John Gillich) is summoned to a flat where he finds the bloodied bodies of several young people, bones broken, limbs askew, and bearing what look like human bite marks. There's a single survivor, too traumatised to speak, but what comes out of her mouth after she's taken to hospital is nonetheless sufficient to set him on the trail of the drug. He knows she's connected to a young man named John Wheeler (Ian Collins). Can he track John down before there are further casualties?
Horror fans will not struggle to guess the answer to this question. Nor will they be surprised to discover that John has gone to stay with five friends in a remote cabin for a fourth of July party. There's lots of beer, not very much clothing, and plenty of sharp objects that just happen to be lying around. No prizes are available for guessing what happens next.
One might fairly say that The Evil In Us is cobbled together from scraps of other films, but it's nicely shot and edited and looks, overall, much better than one would expect with that in mind. Collins does what he can with a character only intermittently in control of his own mental state, and there's some good work from Behtash Fazlali and Debs Howard, whose characters - whilst fundamentally obnoxious in many ways - are rounded enough to make us care about their fates. Away from the youngsters, sinister scenes in which scientists test the drug on human subjects in a secret lab set a different horror tone, which works nicely to break up the action. The detective thread gets lost part way through and is only picked back up at the end, which deprives the film of a potential source of tension, but this is mitigated somewhat by the audience's awareness that the drug could be out there affecting other people, too.
Gore is what draws many a director to this genre and Lee certainly gives the impression of liking the red stuff. Wisely, however, he keeps the focus on character reactions - we know pretty much what's going to happen, so if we're going to get some excitement out of watching these characters, we need to feel their fear. A willingness to play with different types f lighting rather than relying overmuch on shadows is also a plus point.
The Evil In Us is routine stuff but it's effectively made and those with a taste for cannibal violence will find it appetising enough.Reviewed on: 07 Oct 2016