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Path of Evil

Directed by Brad Goodman

Written by Brad Goodman, Justin Ament, Ted Pfeifer

Starring Justin Ament, Ryan Deal, Carrie Finklea, Don Adler

Produced by Michael Jones

Rated R

130 minutes

**

Apparently, somewhere along the line, MTI rediscovered the slasher subgenre.

That’s right…that bad old subclass of horror flicks featuring one lone killer with a bag of tricks and a crazy frame of mind squaring off against a coterie of good guys, most with problems of their own is back. It’s alive and well, if MTI is any indication.

Not so long ago, you were reading about “Scarred” right here, which dealt in a very similar context. So now, for the second time in only a month, you’re catching up on a second slasher flick straight out of MTI.

“The Path of Evil” gives us a nice twisty line toward a murder spree in the sleepy little town of Crystal Lake. No, Springwood. No, Haddonfield! Okay, no…it’s DEVIL’S LAKE.

Now, with a name like “Devil’s Lake,” you know something’s going to go wrong around here and in a very big way. Which it of course does—lots of people wind up dead in lots of strange and interesting ways.

And of course, “The Path of Evil” does plenty the right way. The intro is your standard flood of clippings and news reports, a good way to show that something has been very wrong in Devil’s Lake for a very long time.

There’s also this peach of a sequence at eight minutes and twenty six seconds—very scary stuff right there. If that happened to me I’d be scared out of my mind.

Even better, for those who are fond of the murder mystery aspect of a slasher flick, there will be plenty of twists and turns. Plenty.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of problems of “The Path of Evil.” First off, just dissecting the box gives us plenty of problems. Take a look at that fella on the back. Big old white head. This is our main villain.

And it is NOT the Key Hole Killer.

That’s right, folks, the back of the box is utterly, utterly wrong. You are NOT looking at the Key Hole Killer. The Key Hole Killer shows up for maybe four minutes of footage about thirteen minutes in. This fella is the Harvest Killer, and will be doing most of the killing throughout “The Path of Evil.”

Even worse, the Key Hole Killer looks astonishingly like a low-rent Michael Myers. Look at him! Black jumpsuit, white full-head mask complete with hair. Isn’t that just an amazing set of coincidences?

And frankly, because of this, I had a real hard time getting into “The Path of Evil” at all. They’d do a fantastic job of building up tension, and then what? This Michael Myers knockoff would wander into frame, and I’d be staring at the cheapest, cheesiest ripoff I’ve seen in a long, long time.

For just over two hours, I’d be watching this, trying to feel the tension build, and then BAM! Here’s Mikey!

Which is another key point I should address. This probably ran a bit too long—ninety or even a hundred minutes would’ve been a better runtime here, and there were plenty of sequences that could’ve been shortened up a bit to save some runtime. People chatting in a coffeeshop, for example, or playing pool. A minute here and there would’ve picked up the pacing considerably.

The ending, however, is a gem. It’s a bit sad, but it’s very suspenseful, and packs some surprising twists that’ll leave you breathless.

The special features include storyboards, trailers, Spanish subtitles, and an interview with the special effects makeup guy, E. Larry Day.

All in all, it’s back to the eighties for us this time around, and it’s a pretty solid trip. Assuming you can get past the low-budget Michael Myers knockoff, and you’re fond of a murder mystery, then you are going to love “The Path of Evil.”

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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