ADAM AND EVIL
Director: Andrew Van Slee
Year of release: 2004
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 90 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "One bad apple...ripe for revenge".
Also known as: Halloween Camp 2 Scream if you wanna die faster. (Please note though that this has no relation to the Bloody Murder series).
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: To celebrate the end of High School a group of eight friends head off for a lakeside camping trip for some care free days of partying, sex and relaxation. Among them is Adam who although seemingly as eager as the rest for the trip ahead is inwardly riddled with guilt over a terrible accident he caused sometime before. Adam along with a friend threw a Roman Candle firework at a house starting a fire which spiraled out of control killing the young family of three inside. Adam is still plagued with nightmares over his involvement in the incident and his failure to try and pull anyone out once the fire took hold.
As the friends begin to enjoy their camping break the joy turns to horror as they discover that one of their number has been murdered during the night. They soon find themselves under attack from someone who seems to be making it their business to ensure this is one holiday no one will ever return from. Could it be someone looking to punish Adam for his past transgressions?
Good points: The setting to this was to my liking out in the woods near a lake with a small town nearby run by an odd sheriff. Granted it is recycled from so many other slasher films and is a very familiar backdrop but sometimes it is nice to be safely in the grip of the familiar and this does have a comforting nostalgic vibe about it.
The group of kids were decent enough I thought and I was entertained by them up to a point in the early stages before the first murder took place when they were teasing and flirting with each other and bantering back and forth. Seth and Matt were quite funny together as were Seth's interactions with Yvonne.
Minor spoiler ahead in this point. I think there are going to be two camps in this film regarding the killer with some thinking it was really obvious who it is and others not guessing and being kind of surprised at the end. I was in the latter group as we'll go into later. Anyway what I'm trying to get across here is though it may be obvious to many they do make some effort to set up a few possibilities as to who the killer might be from the Handyman to the Sheriff and even his wife who was quite a strange lady in her actions towards Seth. You could even argue that Yvonne was a suspect early on as she made a point of going off on her own supposedly to skinny dip shortly before the opening murder. So our first thought there is that she will be the first to die but when that doesn't happen you could say she is a suspect for a short while. For those who earmarked the killer straight away none of this would be much of a distraction but for the rest of us it added some guess work elements.
A small thing barely worth a mention but I like the cover art on the DVD of the apple and the snake which you can see to the left. My DVD is either Australian or American I believe so this is perhaps not the typical artwork you may be familiar with as it also has a far more generic cover but this one is striking and makes for a cool cover jacket. Not sure if this is isolated to this version or not but sadly it wasn't such good news with the audio which was hard to hear.
Bad Points: Things have a cheap low budget feel all around in a similar vein to something like say Final Scream/Stab. In particular this is true when it comes to any kind of special effects surrounding the kills. The kills themselves aren't too bad as we get a decent Burning style shears attack plus a couple of crossbow related deaths which is a little different but there is hardly any blood to go with them. Also the crossbow bolt through the necks of Rob and Rachel was strangely done as it looked as if they had been sniped from the side and caught by surprise even though they were looking at the killer dead on when the camera cut away. Also you could clearly see the Rachel character still breathing when she was supposed to be dead.
As I said before the audio quality on my disc was really bad and there were no subtitle options. As a result I had to turn my TV volume up higher than ever before when watching this and even then I missed some of what was being said.
There are a couple of cringeworthy montage scenes firstly when the kids are unpacking the car and then later when they are messing about frolicking in the lake. Both are embarrassing.
I thought the Sheriff's wife character Maureen though rather fun was too implausible. I don't think an attractive woman like that would so actively pursue a teenager, certainly not to the point of sneaking off in the night and driving to his camp on the off chance she could have sex with him. After all there were girls along on the trip and seeing that he ran out on her in the bathroom it would have been logical for her to think he was with his girlfriend. He was actually single of course but it wouldn't have appeared that way to her. It would have been more believable if it were a horny older man instead chasing after one of the girls.
Big spoiler in this point. The reveal of the killer at the end actually surprised me as the biggest clue (probably being the name Evelyn) went over my head. I usually don't pick up on names in films as they tend to go in one ear and out the other so I didn't know what she was called. Incidentally even when I rewatched a few parts of the film in preparation for this review I actually thought they were calling her "Emily" so it shows how bad the audio quality was on my disc. Anyway the motivation for Evelyn being behind the murders is just atrocious. She claims she was the one who started the fire as she was angry the family pulled out of fostering her at the last minute. But we see Adam and Matt starting the fire in flashbacks so I guess both parties started it not realising the other was involved. Evelyn says she went on the killing spree because Adam started telling people about his involvement and she somehow thought that would lead the police to her? Ridiculous, if anything it would be a good thing he was telling people as it means word may get back to the police or he turns himself in but either way he and possibly Matt go down for it and not her. No one knew of her role in things and Adam believed himself guilty anyway so wouldn't be looking to point fingers. Plus most of the characters killed didn't even know about the fire. Just lazy writing through and through.
Verdict: This was a rather poor attempt at a slasher which while not being completely rotten and with one or two redeeming features still fails to impress on most accounts. It can be fun in a brainless way here and there but the ending left me with a sour taste to say the least. I can't recommend it I'm afraid to anyone but the most hardcore slasher fans who want to own or at least watch all the slasher films they can.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Seth: Throat cut with hedge pruning shears. 2) Rob: Impaled through the neck with a crossbow bolt. 3) Rachel: Same as Rob. The pair were joined together by the same bolt going through their necks.
4) Marge (diner worker): Body found in diner. Hard to see what was done to her. 5) Handyman: Stabbed in the chest by Shane who presumably mistakenly thought he had killed his friend. 6) Shane's friend: Found in the van with his throat cut. 7) Yvonne: Shot with a crossbow at the back of the van.
8) Maureen: attacked with a bottle. 9) Sheriff: Shot from behind. 10) Matt: Shot, is surprised to see who the killer is and is killed before he can properly react.