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The Evil In Us (2016)

The Evil In Us (2016)

Writer: Jason William Lee
Director: Jason William Lee

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Full Review

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The Evil In Us sets out its stall very early: the opening title sequence is literally a bloodbath, albeit a stylish one. After that we join a police unit responding to reports of a noisy party. When they enter the apartment they find a scene of carnage.

Switch from that to the main story: a group of six not-quite-teens off for a holiday at the traditional deserted-house-on-an-island. Clearly we're in for a 'guess the killer' type story - and there are a whole host of suspicious characters, both amongst the youngsters and the locals. As things get nasty on the island we cut between it and the police investigation which provides us with the background we need to keep track with what's going on. Vampire? Werewolf? Serial Killer? Initially we don't know.

Then we get a hint of a third story strand: a quick flash of some sort of paramilitary research establishment. Now all sorts of new possibilities are on the table.

There are some interesting ideas in this film and the script is more intelligent than most. The young characters are also better defined than in many similar films. And despite the credit sequence there really isn't an excessive amount of gore; lots of death and blood, but little actual gore.

The multiple story lines work well, the acting is competent and the script is smart. So why didn't I enjoy it more than I did?

The problem is the complete lack of atmosphere. Lee's direction doesn't match his writing and he seems unclear as to what sort of film he's making. There's an inappropriate MTV vibe to much of it and the choice of soundtrack music is off. It feels like an attempt to appeal to the True Blood / Twilight group who want to move up to something more serious, which really doesn't work.

And for all the smart writing during the story journey, the actual destination is very disappointing and unsubtle.

So The Evil In Us is a competent piece of writing let down by a poor ending and a confused, unengaging directing style.