Movie Review: Surviving Evil (2009)

It was nice to do a few posts about good horror films but now I am catapulting myself back to the abnormality and crazy world of Random Horror!

While perusing round my local random horror treasure cove last week, I stumbled upon a rarity. A film that looked half decent but had Billy Zane on the cover! Weird or what! Now, for anyone who is in the dark about this Zane character, his most notable roles to date include Kate Winslet’s fiancĂ© in Titanic, one of Biffs’ gang members in the Back to the Future films. Other roles include the title role The Phantom and the villain in Dead Calm, an Aussie thriller starring Sam Neill & Nicole Kidman.

Surviving Evil or Evil Island depending on where you purchased the film follows the misfortunes of a documentary film crew as they attempt to film a Bear Grylls style survival doc. The group, led by Seb (Zane) start out on their adventure into the depths of a Philippine island but when strange things begin to plague the film crew, it isn’t long before they are confronted with an evil beyond their worst nightmare!

Boring! I hear you say. Films like this are a dime a dozen as the Americans would say. What we want as a viewer is something different, something which says “Surprise” with massive shock values. Something that gets us on the edge of our seats! Unfortunately, Surviving Evil offers very little in this respect. Its storyline is as formulaic as I have made it sound and the script is not much better. Some good moments from Zane accompanied by Natalie Mendoza (The Descent) are not really enough to keep anyone riveted but do supply us with the greatest entertainment.

As for the evil of which they speak, it turns out that Aswang is quite a generic description for a mythical creature in Philippine folklore. Supposedly similar to Vampires, these creatures have the ability to shape shift, making themselves appear normal one minute but can change their appearance to that of an animal when needed. They feed on the unborn and come with a whole manner of different appearances and attributes according to various legend and fables.

Our versions come with more of a “couldn’t really be bothered” tag. In appearance they resemble the stereotypical cannibal and towards the end of the film they suddenly sprout wings and begin to fly. This leads to some very poor special effects and an extremely anti-climatic ending. There are some scenes of gore to get stuck into but most of the death scenes are unimaginative and instantly forgettable.

While my review may not make you want to rush out and watch Surviving Evil, it wasn’t really without its charm and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everyone, there are certainly people out there who will enjoy this type of variation on a cannibal film. All in all, I am not going to be too harsh but it could’ve been better.

Released: 2009
Surviving Evil (2009) on IMDb
My Rating: 5

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