Folklore and Failure – The Field Guide to Evil review.

By Sunday, July 29, 2018 0 Permalink 0

The best things about A Field Guide to Evil are the premise and the credits.
(And the credits get undercut by the repetitive nature of the bumpers.)

Eight filmmakers from across the globe each give a short horror film in this anthology, drawing from their own local folklore. Unfortunately, the shorts feel like they were put together by directors who thought having writers who understood story and theme would be a burden. Well done horror and Twilight Zone weirdness works by mining thematic resonance about human frailty, structuring the monsters within and without to echo each other. Somehow, that lesson was lost on these directors. If they had abandoned it wholeheartedly for some sort of visual virtuosity, it would almost be forgivable, but outside of a few interesting shots, one can’t even mount that defense.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the last short, “The Cobbler’s Lot”, a silent-film homage set in medieval Hungary. It has a sense of playfulness with form which elevates it above the others. In the end, however, nothing quite gets to the level of decently scary, and don’t make up for it with thematic resonance. It feels all too much like the kind of creative scenario where no one was allowed to call bullshit on the director/writer, and so none of the flaws were actually corrected.

Overall, a disappointment, although any one of these filmmakers probably deserves another look when they’ve got someone reining them in.

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