Adam and Evil (2004) Movie Review

Like most low-budget Teen Slashers about highschoolers, “Adam and Evil” stars a bunch of pretty, thin, and white 20-somethings (they didn’t even bother to throw in a Token Minority) who have just graduated from high school and plans to spend the weekend in the woods drinking generic beer and talking about sex while never actually have any. Well actually only the virgin of the group gets to have sex, and that’s with the local Redneck Sheriff’s Redneck Wife. There are also two weird guys following our friends, hoping to do some assorted mischief because one of them is pining for one of the friends. Or some such.

As it turns out, the leader of the pack, Adam (Sean Arnfinson), has one of those traumatic past that keeps giving him nightmares. Ol Adam is feeling guilty about an immature prank that resulted in the death of a whole family years ago. Meanwhile, back in the campground that doesn’t really look all that “Hicksville”-ish, the friends start getting bushwhacked by a mysterious figure leaving behind a Roman candle after every killing. The virgin is the first one to bite it, followed by two lovebirds on a floating raft. Soon the whole group is on the run, their cars don’t work, and their only hope for salvation is Wandering Redneck Clint (Jeffrey Fisher).

The thing about these Teen Slashers that takes place in Hicksville USA is the whole conceit of city kids traveling into the countryside and meeting up with stock Inbred Rednecks. It really doesn’t make sense that one can live in any of the 50 United States and never have encountered rural people; at least enough to know that they’re not the stock Inbred Rednecks cheapie horror films make them out to be. So why are there always such extreme cases of culture clashes in these movies? Because these films are made by people who have never actually been to the rural parts of their state, and ignorance translates into stereotypes.

Not that the why’s and how’s of Teens in Backwoods slasher films really matter. You either have to go along with it or don’t bother with it at all.Although I would like to see a filmmaker come along and break the mold once in a while. Say, have a bunch of teens go to the woods and not a single stock Redneck character shows up to ruin things. Or how about this: at least make the Sheriff not quite so stereotypical. Of course it’s a bit much asking bad filmmakers to deviate from all they (supposedly) know, but one would think that it wouldn’t be so difficult to at least try not to make your low-budget horror film look like every other low-budget horror film.

My ranting on the State of the Genre aside, “Adam and Evil” isn’t really that bad of a movie. Oh sure, it probably spends too much time on inconsequential nonsense like the friends — all eight of them (count them, eight) — engaging in pointless character banter when we haven’t even figured out the names of half of them. And then there’s all the frolicking in the lake. Really, I think it’s already been established that these guys are young and plan on drinking the weekend away; we don’t actually have to see them ply this singular agenda for 30 straight minutes.

Even after the virgin gets his throat slit, the film still finds a way to remain bogged down with long, dull sequences that does nothing except pad the movie’s running time out to the required 90 minutes for straight-to-video release. In fact, so little is done with the Adam character that it makes naming the film after him seem rather random. Of course it doesn’t help that Adam has to share screentime with eight — count them, eight — characters. And that’s not counting the two stalkers, the Redneck Sheriff and his wife, and Redneck Clint. Good luck trying to remember who is who.

The whole generic feel of “Adam and Evil” aside, writer/director Andrew Van Slee does a reasonably good job — that is, if you don’t factor in that the entire movie is devoid of originality. Also, the script (also by Slee) strains mightily to create red herrings out of thin air. I’m not entirely sure if constantly repeating a character’s name works as a plot device, especially since trying to blame every one of the killings on him makes no sense at all if one even spends a second actually thinking about it.

The film’s ending is one of those Big Reveal moments, with an explanation that isn’t credible enough to even spend time debunking. The film itself looks to have been shot on digital video, with the movie then processed to give it a “film look”. I could be wrong, of course, not that it matters in this case. “Adam and Evil” is nowhere near being a good film; but then again, I’ve seen a lot worst.

Andrew Van Slee (director) / Andrew Van Slee (screenplay)
CAST: Sean Arnfinson …. Adam
Lynsey Brothers …. Yvette
Erica Cerra …. Yvonne
Clayton Champagne …. Shane
Jeffrey Fisher …. Clint
Jodie Graham …. Earl
Brody Harms …. Matt

Buy Adam and Evil on DVD