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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Review: The Field Guide To Evil

Director: Ashim Ahluwalia, Can Evrenol, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz, Katrin Gebbe, Calvin Reeder, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Peter Strickland, Yannis Veslemes

Screenplay: Roberto Bolesto, Elif Domanic, Can Evrenol, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz, Katrin Gebbe, Calvin Reeder, Peter Strickland, Yannis Veslemes, Silvia Wolkan

Year: 2019

Synopsis: A feature-length anthology film. They are known as myths, lore, and folktales. Created to give logic to mankind’s darkest fears, these stories laid the foundation for what we know as the horror genre.

Legends, myths, and folktales of every place are the basis that feeds the horror genre and all its artistic expressions. Many of these stories are created to try and explain events that occur in some place but that the actual knowledge cannot explain. From generation to generation these stories are safeguarded and restructured and become part of the identity of a place.

“The Field Guide to Evil” is an anthology of horror stories composed of an octet of short films, brought by the same creators of another horror anthology, “ABC’s of Death” and that seems a product of a book by the Grimm Brothers. Besides that, they are all based on myths and legends of their respective country of origin, these short films have nothing else in common. Each one has its own particular tone and style, and this is something to take into account, as the changes between stories can seem drastic if you expect some sort of continuity.

The different stories explore topics such as sin, postpartum depression, and envy. The tone of each story goes from the use of essential techniques in the horror genre such as shadows and jump scares, to finding inspiration in silent movies. While there are moments in which the images are so repulsive that will squirm your stomach, others are so absurd that they flirt with comedy. What is true is that they all try to bring something unique, even when its execution is not necessarily the best.

One of the points against this movie is precisely that every story has a different tone. Some stories are based more on horror elements, while others are based more on the artistic side, and other try to be so deep that they leave the viewer confused in without enough time to process what was just seen. At the same time, this disparity between stories manages that every person that sees this movie will have a different opinion and interpretation of it, as well as which short will stand out the most.

The short film style usually resorts to having the viewer assume some things to save some time. In some cases, there are things in which it is not necessary to explain much to understand them but overusing this element can cause that the viewer ends up confused and not interested in the story. This is another problem of the stories shown here. While they stand out in the visuals, the fail in the screenplay, what is the most important part to leave a memorable impression in the viewer.

“The Field Guide to Evil” is a movie that, in my opinion, will generate a lot of opposite reactions. Because of its diversity of topics and the disparity among them, each person will have a different experience with this movie. However, this is not a movie that I would recommend to everyone, but horror movie fans will enjoy this one.

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