Ancient Greeks and modern life meets zombies in a timeywimey action horror. Sounds like a laugh, right? Wrong.
An ancient evil is released (don’t ask how – the movie doesn’t say), and a handful of survivors must hole up against a gargantuan zombie horde. The streets are deserted, other than the pockets of very fast-on-their-feet zombies. It’s like 28 Days Later, but with better gore effects and an even weaker story.
This is almost certainly the goriest film you will see this year. Each of our main characters is introduced by a swift dousing in stage blood – think Noel Edmonds and the gunge tank in slow-motion. Start as you mean to go on, I guess. The messiness doesn’t stop at the ceaselessly inventive Savini-shaming effects – the script is shockingly incoherent.
Evil In The Time Of Heroes feels like a manic storyteller who won’t shut the hell up when he’s whizzing off on a tangent, and knows nothing about storytelling ebbs and flows. Characterisation is minimal, the storytelling rushed and undercooked, dishing out (actual) Deus Ex Machinas – spouting “WTFs” when it should be inspiring “Woah!” There’s a couple of good giggles – the before/after shots of a football stadium zombie attack have the rhythm of a well-told joke.
In definitely the coolest cameo of the year, Billy Zane does his best Time Lord meets warrior monk impression – “Like a Jedi? You know, Luke Skywalker”. And admittedly, the filmmakers do their best to make him look awesomely cool. His scenes don’t make a lick of sense, and often take on the appearance of a really bad LSD trip.
There’s a dozen reasonable ideas, none of which are developed into fruition – especially the time-travel stuff. A bit of a waste, really. The script is a collection of a movie-loving fool’s mad ravings. The movie is highly competent in the technical aspects, and is well-shot. It falls down towards the end, where shakycam upturned what was left of my stomach.
There’s a strange lack of emotion in the affair. No fear, no big laughs, no social satire – if it had held on a couple of months, perhaps the story could have leached some timeliness from the economic situation in Greece’s near-bankrupt government. You know, zombies being used for what they usually are – a satirical infection to be purged, preferably with fire.
A wasted chance, but hopefully it’ll lead to more interesting and coherent things for all involved.