We love clichés around Absolute Horror – and what could be more clichéd than a film centered around teenagers camping out in the woods and getting killed one by one? So it was with giddy anticipation that I sat down to watch ADAM & EVIL, another variant on this same thing. How sad I was at the failure of this film to get even the basics right. Now, it’s not brain surgery. Making an entertaining film about teenagers getting whacked isn’t that hard to do. So, in a sense, it’s almost more of an achievement that ADAM & EVIL failed so spectacularly. But I’m still not giving it a good rating.
The film revolves around a group of recently graduated high-schoolers – all played by 20 and 30-something actors of course. One of them, Adam, wakes up with night sweats after dreaming of a mistake he made years ago. Younger Adam played a prank on a house and set a fire, a fire which then killed the entire family in the house. Ha ha, what a funny prank. Lighting houses on fires ranks right up there with prank calling people and making them say “I Pee Freely.” Well, Adam does what anyone who has suffered such trauma would do – he joins his friends and returns to the area of the crime for a fun camping trip!
Somehow, between wherever these kids live and the woods where they camp – the population turns from white-bred into red-neck very quickly. The locals in the area are some of the goofiest-acting red-necks you’ll ever see on film. Nicole Kidman pulled off a better southern accent in COLD MOUNTAIN (“Oh this terrible war-ah”) than these guys. But to be fair, that’s about what you’ll get when it comes to acting. I’ve seen literally hundreds upon hundreds of these movies (what happened to my life?) and the acting in ADAM & EVIL is among the worst I’ve ever seen. Sad to think that the cast really aspires to be taken seriously as actors.
There’s little point in recounting the plot, as you know what’s coming. First are the fake scares, where the “boo” moment makes you think the killer’s coming, but it’s not really him. Then comes the scary story around the campfire. Next up is some sex inevitably. Finally, the murders start happening. And last of all, of course, is the revelation that the fire Adam flashed back to has something to do with these murders. Shocking.
Now, my quibble with this movie isn’t that it’s clichéd. The paragraph above could have been featured in a four-star review. But that movie would have had copious amounts of gratuitous nudity and gore. Is that too much to expect from a teenage-camping movie? No, it’s the bare minimum, and ADAM & EVIL delivers neither. That sound you’re hearing are thousands of readers clicking off this review after that last line. Yes, there is about 2 seconds worth of nudity and otherwise we’re left with nothing – and given the attractive female cast, that’s a grave sin.
The filmmakers (a generous term) should take a look at BLOODY MURDER 2 for reference. Now, it’s a pretty crappy movie, to be sure. But it at least delivers on that base level you expect it to. Without the sex and gore, what’s the point? Somewhere, the makers of FRIDAY THE 13th are shaking their heads.
RATING: * (out of four)