Title: Face of Evil
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Director: Vito Dinatolo
Starring: Scott Baxter, Chad Bishop, Jamie Bernadette
Running time: 1h 30 mins
What It Is: Jay Williams (Scott Baxter), a war veteran, returns home on Independence Day after fighting in the Middle East. Once reunited with his friends and family, a strange flu outbreak infects his loved ones. He embarks on a journey with his former war sergeant, Sarge (Chad Bishop), to find the truth behind this virus, and why it may lead to something bigger.
What We Think: This advertises itself as a Horror/Thriller, but quite frankly, it’s a Suspense/Drama at best. The “horror” aspect, those infected from the mysterious flu outbreak, was anticlimactic. The first act of the film dragged on for far too long, long enough for me to figure out the message of the movie before it was confirmed. Psychological thrillers need to have a build-up that doesn’t give out clues to what it actually represents, otherwise, it’s a cliché drama that leaves the audience bored. I sure was. However, I have to admit that the message itself was a solid one, revolving around the effects of PTSD. The plot of the film was filled with irony– a war veteran comes home on Independence Day only to face more fighting, death, and realize his true enemy. A big bone I have to pick with this film are the cast and characters; the cast themselves didn’t do a great job in their performances. There was a lot of emotion that was missing, Jamie Bernadette would be the only redeemable actor in this film. The characters’ interactions felt forced. Dinatolo created awkward dialogue between them, and tried too hard to create humor. Some of the humor came off as xenophobic and harmful towards women, which was hopefully not Dinatolo’s intention.
Our Grade: D+. While the plot did have an interesting message (PTSD), the execution wasn’t where it needed to be. The flow was bumpy and boring, there were a handful of moments that the film could’ve done without, and I was waiting for an unpredictable twist. I never got it. This is a film that definitely sounds better written on paper.