Written by: : Kevin McDonagh and A.J. Nicol
Directed by: Kevin McDonough
Starring: Richard Cambridge, Adrian Bouchet, and Stephanie Elliott
Reviewed by: Brett G.
Oh Satan, that devil. Not merely content to dwell down below and tempt from afar, it seems the dark one and his minions are always leaving trinkets for people to dig up and raise hell. Such is the plight in Idol of Evil, which finds a group of archeologists searching for an ancient idol that once enabled a king to peer into the souls of his enemies before smiting them.
Dr. Kixley is the first scientist on the scene; however, after uncovering the trinket in question, he’s gunned down. His disappearance causes his former colleague, David Hilton, to become interested in the case. Hilton uncovers a cult conspiracy that’s dedicated to discovering the mythological idol in the hopes of taking over the world. Murder, mystery, and betrayal all ensue.
As does yawning. Despite being a generally competent (if not low-budget) production, Idol of Evil barely raises an eyebrow, much less hell. It’s a listless and generic effort all the way around, from the non-descript, lifeless script to the dull, plain photography. As you watch the film unfold, you get an odd sense that the film is not exceedingly poor at anything, but it’s also pretty far from being entertaining. There’s little tension or atmosphere to drum up the even slightest interest in the proceedings on screen, and the characters are clichés that have nothing interesting to say. Sure, they find themselves in some not-so-riveting action sequences that are captured well enough by the camera, but they are hardly dynamic and mostly just add up to some standard fistfights and shootouts.
Still you might hope that the devil is in the details, and I suppose he is operating somewhere in the background of all of this. He’s largely absent as the human drama takes center stage; in many ways, the film feels like a very low-budget and much less imaginative take on Indiana Jones, as the two sides are both racing against each other to uncover the titular idol. In fact, the film’s climax is ripped straight from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and this is the one moment where the film exhibits signs of life once the evil force is invoked. I would hesitate to call the sequence “effects-laden,” but the crude splatter tricks add some color to what is an otherwise dry experience (in more ways than one). The crew also decided to use some stylish lighting here as well, though it basically amounts to someone flipping a switch on a neon green light.
But all the cheap tricks and lighting effects in this world and the underworld can’t completely redeem the preceding hour of dullness. Some films are bad due to sheer incompetence, while others are poor simply because their limited budget can’t elevate a weak, derivative premise. Idol of Evil is the latter. Chemical Burn Entertainment will be bringing the film to DVD on April 19th, and if the screener is any indication, the presentation isn’t going to help the already lackluster production. The non-anamorphic transfer is often soft and shows interlacing artifacts; also, the disc had a strange hiccup towards the end that caused an alternating loss of picture and sound. Hopefully this will be remedied before the final product hits store shelves. Even if it is, I can hardly say the film itself will be worth picking up. A very hesitant look might be warranted by the most devoted occultists, but nothing more. Rent it!
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