Evil Angel (2009)
By: Captain Red Eye on June 8, 2010  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Director: Richard Dutcher
Starring: Ving Rhames, Ava Gaudet, Kristopher Shepard, Richard Dutcher, Marie Westbrook
Screenplay: Richard Dutcher
Country: USA
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Independent filmmaker Richard Dutcher is so heavily involved in each aspect of his productions it wouldn't surprise me to learn he dons an apron and lends a hand in crafts services during his idler moments on set.

A former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Dutcher honed his chops churning out highly-lucrative Mormon propaganda flicks like God's Army, my only knowledge of which comes from a passing mention in a John Safran sketch. Having left the fold in 2007 Dutcher is presently turning his hand to more secular fare, and if Evil Angel is anything to go by that's good news for the wider cinema-going community.

Written, produced, directed and edited by Dutcher, who has also been known to step in front of the camera on occasion, the film opens with a lingerie-clad beauty luxuriating solo on her bed, writhing around like an extra in a Fiddy Cent video and undertaking the sort of laboured, overly sensual slow-motion undulations more befitting of a Victoria's Secret commercial than a motion picture. The scene is, thankfully, intentionally mindless, and is played to excellent comic effect (the words 'You're not even reading this' are inserted briefly into the opening credits at the precise moment the woman in question arches her back and begins ardently cupping her own pert breasts) before coming to a rather abrupt Sam Raimi-esque conclusion. Following this we are introduced to a nameless gent stumbling, terror-stricken, through the streets of some nameless city. The chap's two principal failings, as I see them, are 1: his floppy, Hugh Grant-like hair, and 2: the fact that every woman he sees has the face of a demon. It's the latter of these deficiencies that appears to be giving him his present cause for alarm, though the point becomes moot when the doomed fellow proves conclusively that a car will not cushion the impact of a human thrown from the roof of a multi-story apartment complex.

The event is just the beginning of a cavalcade of carnage wrought by Lilith, a decidedly malevolent and all-powerful entity with the ability to possess the corporeal form of any living female. For those whose knowledge of Hebrew mythology is as hazy as mine, Lilith was purportedly the original wife of Adam. Evidently a bit on the brassy side, she was kicked out of the Garden of Eden in favour of the more demure Eve and has had a sizable chip on her shoulder about it ever since, sporadically taking her revenge on humankind in a variety of gruesome and inventive ways. Newcomer Kristopher Shepard and Ving 'I want a nigger hiding in a bowl of rice waiting to pop a cap in his ass' Rhames star with equal proficiency as a fresh-faced ambulance attendant and a grizzled detective respectively, who together must try to thwart the rampaging virago before she kills too many more of their family members.

At a pinch under two hours the film is overlong and its storyline borders at times on the derivative, but these complaints aside it's an accomplished and remarkably lucid affair. With some sublimely atmospheric photography courtesy of legendary cinematographer Bill Butler (Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Grease) and an equally expressive score from sound designer John Frizzell, the film avoids becoming mired in the weight of its mythological themes and easily proves the equal of much more highly budgeted horror-comedies like Drag Me to Hell and its ilk.

Evil Angel will be coming to DVD and Blu-ray on August 25 courtesy of Eagle Entertainment. All up it's an enjoyable and superbly crafted affair, and one that's highly recommended to those who don't mind their horror infused with the occasional well-timed titter.
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