Evil: To Kako
- Fantastic gore once it gets going.
- Enough running to compete with Lord of the Rings.
- Some great cinematic shots and style.
- Well paced in the main.
When theres no more room in Hellas…the dead will walk Athens
Evil, otherwise known as To Kako, is not only writer/director’s Yorgos Noussais first feature film but also Greece’s first ever zombie film, and considering the wait Noussais doesn’t disappoint.
An evil force is awakened in downtown Athens transforming the unsuspecting citizens into raving zombies. The few survivors will have to fight hard for their lives. To the death.
The film starts by laying the foundations of what is to come when three miners discover a new, unmapped cave on the edge of Athens. Investigating further, the direction takes an almost Evil Dead approach as a mysterious force sneaks and attacks them. Next thing we, and they know, our miners are back in Athens going ahead with their normal evening plans, a family meal – watching a football game – clubbing, until the mysterious infection takes hold and before your can say zombie all three are chowing down on the nearest available human souvlaki.
From that set up our key characters come to the fore as they have to run and hide throughout as they seek to get our of the Athens danger zone and to a nearby safe military base. That is it, a simple run/hide/zombies formula without all the emotional baggage or any real sub-plots (one wants to find her brother but that is merely a footnote) that usually cloud these films, and that is quite a refreshing change as the film knows it’s limitations and resources and doesn’t try to stretch itself too thin and this approach allows it to breathe and not appear forced, endearing itself to the viewer as a result.
Moving on to the film itself, writer/director Noussias is not afraid of showing panic and zombie action and within seconds of the outbreak is pushing scenes of carnage, with this made possible but instantaneous conversion from victim to zombie which is maintained throughout the film, no debates over how long it takes to transform here. Sadly however, the budget didn’t stretch to covering all the zombies adequately and means that some scenes of carnage happen either off-screen or are hidden by bodies which is disappointing but understandable. But when they do happen the gore flies in a fantastic over the top fashion, in the true gore is more low-budget fashion as we are treated in one scene to several decapitations, head explosions and crushing as Noussias seems to be taken over by blood lust and these scenes perfectly counter the more character and dialogue driven ones and while the tone may not be consistent for everyone (serious, comedic and OTT gore) it doesn’t prove detrimental to the film.
Being a low-budget film, aside from gore the other key issue is the acting. This can make or break a film, and while the acting here doesn’t see us discover any Oscar winners, it’s not terrible either, although perhaps not good enough to really convey any emotion or character depth that would have taken this film up a level, although with the switches in tone mentioned earlier this perhaps is for the best as it helps keep a consistent feel throughout the film rather than from highly emotionally charged to Jim Carrey hilarious to brutal as the lack of acting conviction and prowess actually helps keep it balanced as no one “tone” is effectively communicated more than another.
Of special mention, and quite refreshing to see, is that this film is quite female-centric, they may not be bad-asses like Barbara in the Night of the Living Dead remake, but they are not catatonic either and hold a fair bit of focus in the group dynamic, even if a significant amount of it is as a sex object for the eternally horny Argyris.
This is a film with a lot of promise and fun, but is let down by some cheap effects (the grainy streets outside of the taxi window early on is just embarrassing) and an attempt to mimic Versus (2000) near the end with a couple of zombies launching through the air which made no sense in the context of the film but overall is a well-directed and shot fun film which represents a landmark in Greek cinema as Noussais is clearly a talented director and has a good eye for a shot.
If you see it, I would recommend that you pick it up and give it a watch, while not original it does have a lot going for it and will entertain, in particular once the gore kicks in you will be laughing and disgusted in equal measure.