Starring Scott Baxter, Chad Bishop, Jamie Bernadette
Directed by Vino Dinatolo
I’ll give up every single piece of admiration that my soul can offer to our troops who make the sometimes difficult move back into the “normal” way of life after serving for long stretches overseas. While I have no inkling of what these brave souls must face day in and day out while protecting our country, I can attest that I’ve had friends who have served in the U.S. Military and have returned home to a litany of issues – some physical, financial, and, more often than not, psychological.
Why I’m waxing on about this situation is in some kind of relation to the subject matter at hand in Vino Dinatolo’s mind-bending horror flick Face of Evil. Sometimes the most terrifying things that we stare at head-on are what is drummed up in our own minds. Let’s dive into this one and see what we can dig up, shall we?
The film centers around soldier Jay Williams (Baxter), who has just returned home after a lengthy tour and is ready for a little Independence Day solace – it’s clear that the horrors endured have caused Jay to withdraw himself a bit from social action, but his close pals decide that a little party couldn’t hurt (famous last words). As the soiree changes its tempo, so does the rage-meter of Jay’s guests, all brought on by some airborne virus that has everyone quickly transforming into rampaging kooks. Zombies? Demons from another dimension? Hell, your guess is as good as mine… I was just hoping that someone would have turned the friggin’ lights on (more on that in the next paragraph). As you’d expect, the reminder of this presentation involves some bloodshed, a whole lot of screaming, eventual sprinting, and the foremost characteristic stapled to this film’s skull – the search for a cure.
Now that all the descriptive minutiae have been cast to the side, let’s attack the technical flaws of this movie, which ultimately proved to be its undoing. Now this isn’t going to be one of my typical rants about how the plot is insanely contrived, derived, and bereft of any plausibility… no, no, no. The thing that really got under my skin with this movie was indeed the lack of LIGHT. You know, that one little thing that we need in order to see things correctly? So many scenes were shot in the absolute lowest of light conditions that it make it damn near impossible to sort out whatever the hell was on the screen – frustrations abound.
Also, the film took a staunch approach about the traumatic weight on the shoulders of someone dealing with PTSD, which was commendable, but the acting and dialogue surrounding said approach certainly didn’t help the conveyance of the story, and don’t even get me started on the payoff, which never really seemed to materialize.
Overall, Face of Evil is one of those films that had the best of intentions but comes off like someone wrote you a check and then told you to go cash it, but when you got to the bank, the only noise for miles was a resounding “BOUNCE.”