“A small college town police station is besieged by a supernatural force let loose on a sleepy Halloween night. The sheriff, and his loyal deputies, struggle with the evil they lock in their basement jail; a force that preys upon each person’s worst fear, winning over all but the strongest willed. An increasingly horrible chain of events is set in motion that could destroy the town, and possibly the world.”
Touted as, “Ghostbusters meets Dawn of the Dead, caught in the Twilight Zone”, Live-Evil comes from writer/director Ari Kirschenbaum and boasts a roster of recognizable actors. It even has the distinguished honor of counting the legendary Tony Todd among it’s cast. On paper, this all sounds like a delightfully fun, clever and fresh horror film. In reality, it’s a confusing mix of “artsy” visuals, an uneven tone, “humor” that falls flat, cheap visual effects and a soundtrack that seems to be attached to the wrong film.
Starting out in black and white, the film transitions to color about half way through, but there is no real reason for this, nor is it ever explained. One can only assume it’s to better show off the non-zombie zombie’s that begin to take over the small town. The “don’t call them zombies” have a really great 80’s throwback aesthetic to them which makes it even more disappointing that they don’t do much besides look cool.
Also unexplained and, seemingly, unnecessary are the six chapters that the film is broken up into. This would suggest that there are different pieces that all come together in the end, but it’s more of an ongoing story that has title cards put in for no reason. By the time Mr. Todd finally makes his appearance, you’re mostly checked out of the story because, well, it goes excruciatingly slow for a quirky horror comedy. Scored by Shawn Lee, the music in the film has a really cool, down tempo kind of funky jazz feel, but it just isn’t appropriate for the action, or lack thereof, that is happening in this movie.
In a low budget film, it’s hard to condemn CGI, but if you can’t afford to do it well, maybe don’t do it at all. Most of the effects are on par with a Syfy film and we all know that is not a compliment.
The most frustrating thing about Live-Evil, though, is the fact that it should have been fun. Take out the chapters, the experimental visuals and push the pace up a little bit faster and this could have been something quirky and enjoyable instead of the lack luster hodge podge that it is.