Directed by: Olga Gorodetskaya
Run time: 90 minutes
The Lowdown: Evil Boy, a new take on the killer kid subgenre, defies expectations, delivering a genuinely creepy and surprisingly bloody story about a Russian doctor and his wife, a teacher, who decide to adopt a child almost a year after their son goes missing.
It's like watching a new take on It’s Alive without any of that franchise’s subtle social commentary and moral quandaries.
Co-writer/director Olga Gorodetskaya infuses Evil Boy with grief and dread, and builds from there.
When the family visits an orphanage, they discover a feral boy being held in the facility’s basement. And, of course, the child immediately bonds to them, breaking free and following them home.
Gorodetskaya has an undeniable eye for staging scenes with interesting camera angles and expert lighting that produce a parade of gorgeous moments, the kind of shots that become publicity stills.
And just when you think you know where Evil Boy is heading, Gorodetskaya delivers a fresh twist, whether teasing a more sinister reality for the feral boy (is he a…zombie?!?), or ratcheting tension by having his parents splinter when the mother begins calling feral boy by her missing son’s name.
Before long, there’s an unexpected pregnancy, the introduction of some crazy abilities such as telekinesis and the ability to morph appearance and a fateful showdown with a knowledgeable warrior nun.
Evil Boy is batshit crazy. It doesn’t just strive for cult-classic status, it chews and claws and kills its way to that designation, which should make plenty of viewers proud.
This is one of those films that you relish being able to recommend, if only for the inevitable response from a friend asking what in the hell you just made them watch.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – No.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Considerable.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – I’m pretty the title sums this up.
Buy/Rent – Buy it.
Immortal (Stonecutter/Different Duck Films, 93 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Immortal is that rare new release that completely knocks you back on your heels, in the best possible way.
It’s intelligent, expertly crafted and chock full of strong performances by genre icons like Dylan Baker and Tony Todd.
Essentially a four-part anthology, Immortal is the story of a handful of mystical beings who sometimes know, sometimes don’t that they are, in fact, immortal, and the films explore how the choices and the consequences that they make and experience define them and their existence.
In each segment, at least one, sometimes more, key character dies, only to be resuscitated, often in surprise, to discover a situation, one of those defining moments in time, that each of us lesser humans hopes never to experience.
The results are tragic, gory and wholly surprising in a way that you rarely expect a film like this to be.
The first segment, “Chelsea,” kicks off so strong that you actually forget you’re watching an anthology.
Chelsea (Lindsay Mushett) is the quintessential high school knockout. She’s flawless, blonde and gifted with athletic abilities, which explains why everyone from her coach to her literature teacher, Mr. Shagis (Dylan Baker), take such an interest in her.
Baker is one of those actors who moves fluidly between A-list Hollywood prestige (Selma, Revolutionary Road) and genre classics (Trick ‘r Treat). He’s also incredibly gifted at keeping viewers guessing whether his character is a good guy or an evil sumbitch.
The second segment, “Gary & Vanessa,” envisions the kind of eternal love that inspires poets to craft sonnets and men to sacrifice themselves to provide for the person who means the most to them in the world.
Which is where viewers meet Gary (Brett Edwards), who when faced with crippling debt, decides to kill himself by way of accident so that his pregnant wife, Vanessa (Agnes Bruckner), will never want for money again once his life insurance payment arrives.
The twist is a doozy, but even better is the shockingly gory comeuppance that awaits.
Possibly my favorite segment was “Ted & Mary,” which features some of the best, most natural and seemingly effortless acting of Todd’s storied career. Be prepared, though. Have some tissues nearby.
This segment is damn near heartbreaking.
Screenwriter Jon Dabach should feel proud.
Bull: Season Four
The B-52s: Live at US Festival
Now on Video-on-Demand:
Range Runners (Dark Star Pictures and Uncork’d Entertainment, 111 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Survival thriller mashed together with the women-in-peril exploitation subgenre, and charged with racial undertones. Now available to stream.
Up on the Glass (Gravitas Ventures, 95 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): A relationship thriller sparked by an impromptu reunion.
We didn’t have time to view this new release, but it’s available to stream.