The vampire race in is in disarray, human blood has become tainted, the different factions have turned against each other, it looks like the writing is on the wall for all remaining. In a last ditch attempt to find some kind of respite and nourishment, a group of vampires are travelling to California, feeding and mutilating as they go. What they initially don’t realise is that they are the ones being pursued, chased down by a sword wielding Priest, dressed in black with a mission to kill. This Priest will stop at nothing to put an end to the blood sucking fiends and settle a few scores in the process.
I’ve got to confess that I’ve been waiting to see this flick for quite a while now, billed with a B-movie A-list cast including Tim Thomerson (Trancers, Zone Troopers), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, From Beyond), Tiffany Shepis, etc, etc. It’s got an interesting premise as well as all the ingredients to make a fine quality, low budget horror flick. So, does it live up to the promise that we were hoping for? Well that’s not a simple thing to answer because Live Evil is a bit of a rough diamond, in some ways its fantastic, in other ways its flawed.
The major problem seems to stem from a major lack of budget, Live Evil looks like a movie that should really have had twice the resources that it had. The gore sequences, even though numerous are just not convincing, it looks as fake as fake can be to put it bluntly. With this aside things start to look better, for one the car chases (there are a couple of memorable ones) look pretty solid and help to raise the bar on the movies excitement. Fight sequences are dealt with fairly solid as well, Tim Thomerson may not be as young as he used to be but i don’t think I’d like to get in a sword fight with him anytime soon. In terms of action i don’t think Live Evil can’t be faulted in anyways and indeed stands head and shoulders above most low budget flicks in this regard.
The movies pacing seems to be fairly spot on for the most part, speeding up when action flies into top gear and taking a break to draw out its characters when needed. The characters deeper dimensions and motivations are fleshed out nicely over the course of the movie and are generally a notch above the usual hum drum that we see nowadays, even in so called ‘blockbuster’ flicks. Live Evil is loaded with social commentary, there are many Romero-isms, in fact it reminded me in someways to Martin (1977), the whole ‘blood is the drug’ ethos. If you watch the movie and replace the vampires with everyday drug addicts in your mind, you’ll see what i mean. It’s good to see this kind of social horror again, it doesn’t surface that often in the modern climate and makes for a breath of fresh air.
In the end would i recommend Live Evil? Yes, i would, although with a slight caveat. Firstly this movie is for die hard horror fans only, casual viewers will be put off by its low budget and lack of polish, to my tastes however, it’s part of its appeal. Everyone to their own i guess. The acting quality is decent enough by and large, the action is swift and there are some nice plot twists as the story progresses, no spoilers but everything is not as it seems in the world of Live Evil. Get it, ’nuff said.
Director: Jay Woelfel
Writer: Jay Woelfel (adaptation)
Actors: Tim Thomerson, Ken Foree, Tiffany Shepis, Mark Hengst
Release Year: 2009