31 Days Of Hell: Live-Evil (2017) - Reviewed

The Halloween season usually means watching a rather substantial number of horror movies, at least some of which have been directed by horror icon John Carpenter. Along with that, there are always the new batch of horror films that subsequently get released during October to coincide with the holiday. Coming out on VOD this Halloween is the horror comedy Live-Evil, a ‘80s inspired monster movie that blends elements of John Carpenter’s The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13, Ghostbusters, Dawn of the Dead, and many other similar horror films from the VHS era. While the story doesn’t break any new ground in the realm of horror, it is still a fun ride that features excellent cinematography and camerawork, surprisingly good special effects for a low budget indie film, and an outstanding score. 

When a local town is taken over by an unexplained evil on Halloween night, the Sheriff (Vladimir Kulich) and his deputy (Charlene Amoia) are thrust into the holy mess and must discover some way to stop it and save the world. As mentioned above, it really isn’t anything new story-wise. It is essentially writer and director Ari Kirschenbaum’s love letter to John Carpenter, taking something that he’s done before and just riffing off of it and adding additional elements along the way. The major difference is that Live-Evil never truly feels as dark, or as terrifying as Carpenter’s films could and would get. So, in terms of the overall tone, it’s slightly more in line with something along the lines of Ghostbusters (If Ghostbusters had nudity and some death). 

The camera work and cinematography are quite exceptional for a low budget picture, producing some particularly impressive camera shots and movement that made for a number of interesting scenes. More than half of the film is shot in black and white, which looks terrific and lends itself to tons of atmosphere. The score from Shawn Lee is a superb hybrid of jazz and rock, mixed with sounds and noises that created the perfect backdrop for the visual elements. The combination of score, minimal cuts, and long following shots delivered several great scenes. 

The acting is above average for a low budget independent production, with a couple of fairly well-known and established actors taking the forefront. Kulich and Amoia have the bulk of the screen time, assuming the roles of a buddy cop duo or the male-female groupings that took place in films like The Fog, Halloween III, and Assault on Precinct 13. They are both effective, but are the diet soda equivalents of the actors that were in the aforementioned films. Tony Todd (Candyman) does make a minor appearance as a priest. His role plays an important part; just don’t go expecting him to be featured for a very long in this. 

The overall look and digital effects are remarkable. The visual effects look far superior to what you would come to expect from a low budget production like this. I liked the zombie or possessed creature practical effects and the CGI effects that were done to light up their eyes, I found their overall look and style reminiscent of the vengeful ghosts from The Fog. There is a decent amount of blood and nudity in this to please and at the very least satiate most horror fans. 

I ain't afraid of no ghost 

It’s hard to determine if Live-Evil will have the true staying power to be remembered beyond this Halloween season, it has both its positives and negatives. Some horror fans will be turned off by the use of CGI and shooting part of the film in B&W, others will enjoy that it pays homage to other films that they love. Either way, it’s worthy of giving a chance if just for its fine blend of cinematography, special effects, score. 

Share this review.

View my Flipboard Magazine.