Thursday, 30 August 2012

Movie Reviews: Surviving Evil (2009)

Surviving Evil is a 2009 horror-action film directed by Terence Daw and starring Billy Zane, Natalie Mendoza, and Christina Cole. Led by survival expert Seb (Billy Zane), a film crew go to an island in the Philippines, intending to make a reality television show called Surviving the Wilderness

So there is a backstory and legitimate reason for everyone being together on the island, rather than the usual "oh, all of our boats just happened to be wrecked here at the same time! And also, there are monsters!". As well as the fairly reasonable (albeit unimaginative) plot, there's a little bit of character development at the beginning, where the crew get to know each other and personalities are revealed too. Of course, whether you warm to them or not is another matter entirely. Still, at at least it gives you something to base your feelings from when you're either rooting for them to survive or wishing they'd all be massacred, rather than just watching with bored indifference.

At first, everything is going quite well, but of course, as this is a horror, the team branch off into smaller groups / pairs fairly quickly and it soon becomes apparent that they are not alone on the island. The crew make some grizzly discoveries and Seb is attacked while trying to photograph a monkey (seriously). From that point,  shape-shifting vampire-like creatures called Aswang that have been attracted by pregnant crew-member Phoebe (Christina Cole), begin to hunt down the survivors. 

After this point, the film consists largely of random creepy noises, running around through the jungle, monster fighting, guns and EXPLOSIONS! It's all very standard action-horror and very predictable, but it's enjoyable enough. The acting isn't fantastic, but it's not absolutely atrocious either. The more "emotional" scenes are pretty dire, especially from Christina Cole, but the horror-filled, screaming scenes of terror are actually fairly decent from the entire cast. (Admittedly, it looks ridiculous no matter how good someone's acting is, but that's beside the point).

Overall, Surviving Evil is an average action-horror film with a pretty good cast that is worth seeing once. It's been shown on the Horror Channel (UK) a few times and if you like this type of shotgun-monsters-action horror, then it's one to look out for next time. However, if you're looking for a thought-provoking or unusual picture, then avoid it, as even the twist at the end was somewhat obvious and expected.


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