Director: Ashim Ahluwalia, Can Evrenol, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz, Katrin Gebbe, Calvin Reeder, Agnierzka Smoczynska, Peter Strickland, Yannis Veslemes
Cast: Birgit Minichmayr, Claude Duhamel, Jilon VanOver, Fatma Mohamed, Niharika Singh
Screenplay: Roberto Bolesto, Elif Domanic, Can Evrenol, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz, Katrin Gebbe, Calvin Reeder, Peter Strickland, Yannis Veslemes, Silvia Wolkan
117 mins. Rated R for disturbing and violent content, bloody images, sexual material, graphic nudity, and language.
I’m seriously not doing this on purpose, but today we’re talking about yet another horror anthology film.
The Field Guide to Evil features eight stories from nine directors from different parts of the world. The Sinful Women of Hollfall is about monsters born of a strong guilt. Haunted by Al Karisi, the Childbirth Djinn tells the story of a demon that steals children and takes on the form of animals and old women. The Kindler and the Virgin is about a man who consumes human hearts to gain knowledge. Beware the Melonheads features violent cannibals reminiscent of The Hills Have Eyes. What Ever Happened to Panagas the Pagan? is a Christmas reversal about a demon taken captive. Palace of Horrors features a story of a man searching for curiosities to serve in a circus. A Nocturnal Breath is another spiritual possession tale. The Cobblers’ Lot is an adaptation of a classic story of two brothers competing for a woman’s love.
So let’s be clear here. These are all quite well made technically. I just didn’t like any of them. There’s not a single one that I think is great or even rewatchable. The best one, to me, is Palace of Horrors because it feels like it is heading somewhere magnificent before heading off the rails. My biggest qualm of each of these stories is relatively the same. Each story seemingly sets itself up well, they all look terrific, and then each one feels like it’s heading somewhere cool, and then they all fail to end on a high note. Each ending sours the entire story.
Unfortunately, The Field Guide to Evil is a complete flop, and I really wanted to love this one. I love the worldwide flavor that an anthology gives, but this one doesn’t do it for me. I really wanted it to be good. I really hoped it would be, but it doesn’t work.
-Kyle A. Goethe
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