EIFF 2010: Evil – In The Time Of Heroes review

Carl reviews Greek zombie horror Evil — In The Time Of Heroes. Is this the Greek Shaun Of The Dead? And why is Billy Zane in it?

Evil: In The Time Of Heroes

When you read in the brochure for a film festival that there is a Greek zombie film in the line-up, it turns into a ‘must-see’. Then you read a little more and find out that Billy Zane makes a cameo in this fairly low budget flick as a time-travelling zombie-killing monk, it goes from ‘must-see’ to ‘definitely cannot miss, even if zombies attack’.

It picks up where the first film Evil (To kako) left off, which, for most of the crowd at this showing, was potentially confusing. Roughly two people in the Cameo had seen the original, so for the rest of us, the little bit of back story we get is greatly appreciated.

One of the characters is shown to die somewhere in the first film, and it begins with an introduction by this character of where they are and what happened to them in the story so far. From there we are run through to the dead end of the first film.

The gang all run into a football stadium, which is then swarmed with zombies who come in every single door. They are surrounded and, while it wasn’t shown, it was implied that they had all died in the ensuing attack. However, this film throws up the title ‘Ten minutes later’ and shows them getting out of the stadium with the line “That was a close one!” and off we go.

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From that point right there it’s easy to understand what this story will give us. By no means is this 28 Days Later or even Resident Evil. This is Night Of The Living Dead, with a huge dollop of the humour of Shaun Of The Dead thrown in, albeit with a style of its own.

The gang are chased from place to place until they meet another group of survivors, and together they ramp things up to a whole other level. The ensuing chaos is a joy to behold, and if you aren’t squeamishly making ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ noises, you will be laughing your head right off your shoulders.

Everybody here proves their worth with every head chop and spike through the mouth. Each gut-wrenching minute is filled and the film is entirely satisfying.

Edgar Wright set the bar very, very high when Shaun Of The Dead came out in 2004, but director Yorgos Noussias does his very best here, and almost comes close to rivalling it. Without comparing too much, this is the Greek Shaun Of The Dead, and with Yorgos Noussias admitting that Greece makes at most thirty films in any given year, and that most of them are what he calls ‘serious dramas’, I don’t expect it to be bettered anytime soon.

Which is not only a shame for Greece and the world, but also a testament to just how good Evil – In The Time Of Heroes really is. Even if someone else were to challenge Yorgos Noussias to a zombie movie fight, his would probably win. The humour is brilliant. Whether it’s slapstick, using word play or just downright good writing, it all blends into an incredible world the creators have made seamlessly.

What’s good too is the amount of actors we see on screen at any given time. The film uses possibly the largest collection of extras you could see on screen, as it has literally hundreds of zombie actors roaming the streets. While most modern zombie films make do with the bare minimum and mainly use CGI to do the rest, Noussias here does his level best to make this as epic a film as possible, and fits as many bodies onto the screen as he possibly can.

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The characters here are great, with every one of them developing their own style and attitude throughout the film. Some key actors who are to be rivalled here are Billy Zane, who basically does nothing and everything at the same time, Andreas Kontopoulos, who is brilliantly funny without even a hint of effort, and Thanos Tokakis, whose job as comedic relief is well earned.

Evil – In The Time Of Heroes is great, and while it may not be entirely new or original, it has the best things you could want from a zombie movie: the zombies move slowly, it’s hilarious and it uses possibly the most fake blood I’ve ever seen on screen. Get to seeing it, any way you can.

4 stars

Rating:

4 out of 5