Sometimes a movie is so different and strange it pulls its audience in. The plot may be confusing but it may also stay with anyone who watches. Trying to figure out what you just witnessed can be more fun than watching. This also runs the risk of turning away anyone watching. Brazil’s Our Evil is a mix of genres that is as riveting as it is difficult to watch.
Director Samuel Galli’s movie starts in a straightforward manner. Arthur Ambrust searches the dark web for an assassin. It looks like the audience is in story for a good old fashioned thriller. Finding out why the target is so specific will be part of the fun. The second half of Our Evil becomes something entirely different. The film turns into an arthouse horror movie that seemingly abandons the beginning before tying everything together. But will anyone understand?
Horror can be mixed with pretty much any other genre. It is just about how well it is done. Our Evil jolts the audience as its moves from one stylle to the next. There is no hint given. We watch as Arthur picks an assassin and spends what is intended to be his final moments with the target. Charles (the hitman was has been hired) is seen as ruthless and coldblooded.
The second half of the film just sort of happens. The audience goes from seeing a methodical and personal tale of three characters into one filled with blood, ghosts, and demons. It is incredibly shocking. Our Evil simply becomes a horror movie at around the halfway point.
Somehow, it all works. Narratively, the story flows seamlessly. The first part of Our Evil is spent with the assassination. The second half deals with why things escalated to such violent levels. Galli, who is also the film’s writer, uses an excellent technique in order to fill in the backstory. It is a surprising change of tone, but it does make sense in the context of the tale.
The pacing of the movie will not be for everyone. Early on, the movie takes its time introducing its characters. (There is not any spoken dialogue until more than ten minuets into the film.) Our Evil moves at a methodical pace that is more about setting an atmosphere. Even when characters are more fleshed out, it is more through action (and non action) than dialogue. This is a story that asks the viewer to be very patient.
The film is also incredibly violent – especially towards women. There is a particularly brutal scene involving Charles and a woman he meets in a bar. Sitting through world building is not that difficult sense there is theoretically supposed to be a pay off. The violence here is reminiscent of the exploitation films of the early 1970s. These moments are much more difficult than the slow build.
Unfortunately, the character development is not as strong as it should be. Charles is bad and Arthur is conflicted is the gist of it. The first half of the film takes way too long to develop. The second half gives Arthur a past and little else. There is nothing wrong with putting focus on the plot, but in this case the characters end up stagnating.
Galli’s direction is beautiful. While the needlessly violent scene involving Charles is discomforting, the transition to the scene is done with a nice bit of calm before the storm foreshadowing. The lighting in the movie is fantastic. Galli perfectly emphasizes settings and characters. There are also some very cool shots – especially towards the end of the movie. The make up effects are top notch and if the point to all the violence early on is to make the audience feel disgusted, Galli succeeds.
Our Evil is a very interesting movie that will take a strong will to watch. The writing is great at times, managing to bring together two seemingly unrelated stories. The direction is exquisite. There is great use of color and lighting from beginning to end. Things can get a little too violent at times and this is not a film for the squeamish or impatient. This Brazilian import is worth a watch, but be prepared.