Evil (aka To Kako) DVD Review
Written by Eric "The Hitman" Strauss
DVD released by TLA Releasing
Written and directed by Yorgos Noussias
2005, Region 1 (NTSC), 83 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on January 30th, 2007
Meletis Georgiadis as Meletis
Pepi Moschovakou as Marina
Argiris Thanasoulas as Argyris
Mary Tsoni as Jenny
Stavroula Thomopoulou as Dimitra
Nikos Sabalis as Andreas
Anreas Konopoulos as Vakirtzis
and Yannis Katsambas as Yannis
Beware of Greeks bearing teeth, as TLA's "Danger After Dark" series offers up another foreign take on a horror staple: The Greek zombie film Evil, or To Kako.
The movie is an Athens-based variant on 28 Days Later, with a fast-spreading virus turning bitten humans into fast-moving, cannibalistic monsters almost instantaneously.
But when it seems a vengeful ghost — or is it a real person? — starts killing the people nearest and dearest to her, she must solve the mystery of what happened to Eve, the boy's mother, while avoiding slipping over the edge into full-blown insanity.
A stereotypical "ragtag group of survivors" struggles to survive in the first few days after the nightmare is unleashed, and Evil follows their (mis)adventures through a bloody setpiece battle and on to a grim conclusion.
The group is led by Meletis (Meletis Georgiadis), an older, shotgun-toting fellow, and features a pair of strong-willed women in Marina (Pepi Moschovakou), who is watching over teenage neighbor Jenny (Mary Tsoni), and Dimitra (Stavroula Thomopoulou), a bitchy, sexy ex-girlfriend with some serious frustration issues.
Toss in a wisecracking, horny cabbie (Argiris Thanasoulas), a crazed soldier (Anreas Konopoulos) and a cannon-fodder soccer fan (Nikos Sabalis), and you've got a group of one-note characters who are given just enough personality to keep things entertaining during the dialogue pauses-for-breath between chase scenes.
The acting is fairly wooden — the monotonous Tsoni is the worst offender — and the fight choreography is embarrassingly bad, but there's gore aplenty and some quality over-the-top effects by Yorgos and Roulis Alachouzos.
In fact, the main fight scene features several extremely inventive and stylish kills using a variety of weapons, even if the actors don't look very convincing performing them.
It must be said that writer/director Yorgos Noussias shows off some very slick film techniques, too: There are MTV-esque jump cuts; some funky editing effects; and quite a bit of Run Lola Run-style split-screen use, which really adds to the chaos of the characters' many sprints through cramped city streets, just ahead of the bleeding, snarling posse of undead.
Noussias also provides some humor in the script, mostly through Thanasoulas' Argyris character, but Evil isn't exactly my Big Fat Greek Apocalypse.
On the other hand, it keeps moving at a brisk 83 minutes, and the tension remains fairly high from the first bite. The movie has flaws, to be sure, but they're easy to overlook if you're willing to relax and just be entertained.
Video and Audio:
The anamorphic widescreen video — listed as 1.85:1, but looking more like 2.40:1 on my HDTV — is very soft, likely an issue with the source. Unfortunately, the disc struggles to rise above those source elements, with plenty of digital noise to be seen.
The Greek 5.1 Dolby surround sound, on the other hand, is more than adequate, with good use of the surrounds. There's a bit of hollowness to the dialogue, but again, that appears to be an issue with the source.
English subtitles can be turned off, by those who speak Greek. Like most of TLA's foreign releases, they are generally strong, with only a few typos.
The only extras are a small photo gallery and the theatrical trailer. Neither is of particular length or visual quality.
In many ways, Evil offers little zombie fans haven't seen before. On the other hand, the movie has its fair share of tension and gore, plus a touch of "foreign" zaniness that adds to its charm. TLA's DVD is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done, and "Danger After Dark" adds another notch to its gunbelt in terms of bringing a good foreign movie to North America, where it might not have been seen otherwise.
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