(A.k.a. MAL NOSSO)
Welcome to Brazil.
Middle-aged Arthur (Ademir Esteves) is woken by his bedside alarm clock at 2.32am. He shuffles through his darkened apartment and makes his way to his laptop. Sitting before it, he ventures on to the dark Web and traverses past such temptations as "Necro", settling instead on a page devoted to assassins based in South America.
Arthur taps on a link to a video uploaded by self-professed hit-man Charles (Ricardo Casella). The 3-minute clip details Charles scalping a female victim before shooting them in the face. Arthur visibly recoils from the gore unfurling before his eyes, and yet knows that he has found the man needed to fulfil the task he has in mind: he begins to chat online with Charles, and the pair soon arrange to meet in a local bar.
At said bar, Charles professes to "hate people", which is what compels him to accept Arthur's job invitation, despite the vagueness of instruction (at this point, he has no idea who his intended victim is, just that he must kill them within 48 hours) and unusual payment arrangements.
As if we're in need of any further demonstration of Charles's capabilities in the field of misanthropy, we witness him pick up two hookers once Arthur has left the bar. He takes them back to his place and, well, let's just say their night ends badly. They were probably hoping for Patrick Bateman to come and rescue them at some point.
So ... Charles is a bad man. And Arthur, knowing this, has just enlisted his dubious services. But why? Why would this unassuming, aged man who lives with his daughter Michele (Luara Pepita) - due to turn 20 imminently - keep moving home so frequently, and need the urgent assistance of a brutal assassin?
Well ... that would be telling. And seeing as though OUR EVIL is a pretty short film, it seems unfair to take you any further into its synopsis. An unexpected double-execution comes relatively early into proceedings, and from thereon in the movie becomes a different beast altogether. Our perception of Charles is challenged, and supernatural factors come to the fore via a series of revelatory flashbacks...
OUR EVIL is the feature debut of writer-producer-director Samuel Galli. He's only a young fellow and this suggests a hugely promising career lies ahead of him. What starts off as something akin to KILL LIST soon expands and morphs into full-on horror with a handful of genuinely grisly, not to mention chilling, moments.
Performances are generally strong. There are, admittedly, brief moments of amateurishness here and there: just one of the tell-tale signs of this being a low budget production. The HD sheen is another, but it's not overly distracting.
This is largely due to Galli's production design and keen eye for atmospheric scene-setting. From the start, camera angles, editing and lighting conspire to entice maximum creepiness from the most asinine of scenes, while potentially non-moments such as Arthur and Michele discussing the baking of her birthday cake are given a healthy sense of awkwardness, ill-foreboding even, thanks to an intelligent script and subtle direction.
OUR EVIL is well-paced, occasionally violent (but never gratuitously so) and satisfyingly dark. It has the odd surprise in store, and definitely evolves from one type of film - thriller - into full-blooded horror. If anything, it could've benefitted from being a tad longer and expanding on its themes of familial conundrums and doing the right thing somewhat.
The film is coming to UK DVD thanks to Matchbox Films. We were sent an online screener link for review purposes.
OUR EVIL looked great in its original 2.35:1 ratio, with keen framing and vivid colours. Sharp, clean visuals and vibrant presentation serve the film well. The film is uncut - 77 minutes and 31 seconds in length.
2.0 audio was presented in its original Portuguese language, with easily readable English subtitles.
Whether there are any bonus features on the actual disc, I don't know. But, if this link I viewed is anything to go by, the film will be well served in terms of video and audio - and it's a most interesting prospect indeed, heralding the arrival of a director who, in time and given a bigger budget to work with, could offer something substantial to the genre.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Matchbox Films|