Ambition and vision are attributes that should, quite rightly, be respected and encouraged in filmmakers. Without them, and without those with the foresight to spot them, some of the greatest films in cinema history may never have been made. Sometimes though, ambition and vision can exceed the capabilities of the filmmaker, resulting in a film that descends into misguided confusion. Sadly, that appears to be the case with Live-Evil as a disjointed narrative struggles on uneasily alongside overly stylised visuals, with inconsistent tone and pace further adding to the issues.
While patrolling on Halloween, Deputy Hancock (Charlene Amoia) discovers a murder scene where the only survivor is a mysterious naked woman. Ignoring for now the fact that the woman has glowing pupils, she arrests the stranger and takes her back to the station. Once there, Hancock’s fellow officers begin to act strangely as the “evil” woman exudes a kind of psychic paranoia that infects victim’s minds. Then the film becomes a routine zombie horror. Then it turns into an ill-judged, almost slapstick comedy horror. Then the zombies go on a pilgrimage. Then, finally, it ends.
Around 20 minutes or so into Live-Evil (you see what they did there?), you may just happen to glance at your watch. If you do, you will undoubtedly be amazed (and horrified) you’re only 20 minutes in. The pacing in the opening half of the film is so ponderous and uninspiring it makes you wonder if it’s by design. Scenes linger long past the point they ceased to be interesting, and pauses between lines of dialogue make you want to reach in and shake the cast. When things finally do pick up some speed as the zombies converge on their “church” (and many drive there as, you know, it’s quicker), you find yourself simply no longer caring and begin to hope the remaining human characters get eaten as soon as possible.
Some humour is attempted by introducing a character whose name and purpose really don’t matter, but the lines feel like they’ve been lifted from an entirely different script, as if the filmmakers were working on a Scary Movie-style spoof at the same time and just decided to amalgamate the two. Simply put, nothing in Live-Evil is original or new, and you will have seen it all done before, just very much better.
Writer and director Ari Kirschenbaum clearly has ambition and a vision (of sorts), but this film doesn’t demonstrate either trait well. There is surely a good film in him somewhere but it might be advisable to wait for the next one as this isn’t it.
LIVE-EVIL / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ARI KIRSCHENBAUM / STARRING: TONY TODD, CHARLENE AMOIA, VLADIMIR KULICH, VINCENT M. WARD / RELEASE DATE: TBC