Resurrection of Evil Movie Review
Written byJoel Harley
Released by Thunderbird Releasing
Directed by Andrew C. Erin
Written by Andrew C. Erin and Daniel Farrands
2016, 80 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on October 9th 2017
Julie Benz as Jackie
Belle Shouse as Sarah
Josh Stamberg as Tim
Danielle Harris as Danielle
Piecing her life back together after getting her daughter killed in a tragic road accident, recovering alcoholic Jackie movies into the Gothic apartment building Havenhurst. Not only does that sound like it should be a lunatic asylum and a better name for a film than Resurrection of Evil, but Havenhurst has a sinister supernatural side… Jackie is warned by landlady Eleanor not to fall back into old habits, or face eviction. By ‘eviction’, she of course means grisly death by ghoul. But are those demons of the undead or more physical variety? Jackie’s battle with the bottle might just reveal the answers sooner rather than later.
Seeking her missing friend Danielle, Jackie has ulterior motives for her big move to Havenhurst. Befriending and aggravating her neighbours in equal measure, the tormented alkie is likely to find herself just as dead as poor Danielle. That’s Danielle Harris, by the way, murdered during the film’s opening moments. The scream queen’s time amounts to little more than a five-minute cameo, but it sets the tone well, reassuring audiences that the film’s horror bona fides are stronger than its horrible UK title. And, with Julie Benz starring as Jackie, Resurrection of Evil (ugh) is at least graced with a strong, classy cast.
Taking clear influence from such building-bound thrillers as The Innkeepers and Rosemary’s Baby, director Andrew C. Erin takes his time with the story, exploring the old Gothic house’s corridors and rooms with leisure and a good eye. Jackie’s neighbours are a predictably creepy bunch, and while the writing doesn’t go to any great lengths in fleshing them out, they’re effectively sketched. Likewise, Benz’s Jackie. There are no surprises to be had from either the character or the actress (one always knows what to expect from a Julie Benz performance), right down to the inevitable struggle with the bottle. The writing is much the same as the performances and direction: solid, never showy, always competent.
Still, there is more going on here than most, and what seems from the outset like an average supernatural thriller gives way to something nastier and more grounded. Erin handles the 18-rated torture and the violence of the second half as well as he does the atmospherics of the first, but it does result in an occasionally awkward hodgepodge of the two, neither quite working like it should. True crime fans should get a kick from the integration of a proper celebrity into the story (HavenHurst home, geddit) but it ties into the story about as well as the subgenre hopping… which is to say only just.
Resurrection of Evil (ugh) is an ambitious, effective thriller, graced with a moody setting, interesting themes and a maintained atmosphere. While the Saw-level cruelty isn’t always a match for the film’s more thoughtful ideas, it does try harder than most.