Wait I missed a Billy Zane movie? I love his horror flicks! How the heck did that happen? If I hadn’t seen the DVD sitting on the shelves of my local video store on sale for a couple bucks, I would have never even known this one was out there. I mean I suppose I could just keep checking his IMDB page, but that seems like cheating. Regardless I need to talk about Surviving Evil.
Here Zane plays Seb, the host of one of those survival reality T.V. shows. He and his crew land on an island in the Philippines to shoot an episode. Of course, we the audience know this is a terrible idea since we saw a monster tear thru the local village killing everyone. But what they don’t know can’t hurt them. Wait yes it can! It can most certainly hurt and kill them all! Anyway, after poking around the island a bit the crew eventually runs into a whole tribe of flesh eating “demons” that start to attack them from the trees. According to the legend the only way to keep them away is fire or to go underground. Seems they refuse to enter caves… Oh and you can shoot/stab the hell out of them too.
I had so much fun with this movie. The pace of the story has a nice and leisurely roll as the characters get established and we see the history between them. The tricky part to monster movies is setting up the characters so that you will care when bad stuff starts to happen without boring the audience to tears. Surviving Evil excels at this creating interesting protagonists that are watchable long before the creatures show up. As a coinsurer of these types of flicks I can tell you that is a rare thing to accomplish. As an added bonus I also thought that the ending was brilliant.
When the creatures do appear on screen the movie switches gears and starts to toss the gore around. There are bloody fetuses in the trees that drop down on people, demonic babies that latch onto arms, a couple feeding scenes where our character’s go to pieces… heh couldn’t resist that one. The creature design is also very interesting. These aren’t totally alien monster but are almost human except for a face full of sharp teeth. Many of the early attacks are shot with quick cuts so that you don’t get to see the creatures. I think that was done to hold off the reveal for as long as possible. Eventually we do get to see them, and they look great. I did notice a couple cringe worthy bits of CGI, but mostly this was a good time.
Billy Zane is awesome. Seriously the dude doesn’t get enough credit for what he brings to any project he is associated with. He has played the villain in Demon Knight, the comic relief/wisecracker in The Mad, and here totally plays it straight as the nice guy trying to make sure everyone gets along. In spite of being the star of their show his character is a decent person who likes everyone and when it comes down to it protects them regardless of his own safety. Put Zane in your flick and I’m going to watch it!
I really liked Surviving Evil. Not only is it a great creature feature but it’s a Billy Zane joint! Did I mention Billy Zane? Okay I’m beating a dead horse here. I highly recommend this one.
© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer