Film Review: Evilenko


What happens when we no longer have anything to believe in?  Will we simply move on, resigned to live out our lives and let the world go on around us?  Will we be forced to lash out, striking at and attempting to destroy the system that took away our identity?  In the eyes of Evilenko, we are shown the possibility that the loss of identity brings about something ever the more sinister�

Kiev, USSR, 1984.  Andrej Romanovic Evilenko (Malcolm McDowell) is an odd man to say the very least.  A teacher at a prominent preparatory school, he has a way about him that makes the children wary of crossing him.  While not the most sociable of men, he is a powerful and passionate communist, believing and touting the cause as if it were his life.  However, responsible a citizen though he may be on the outside, Evilenko is truly a sick puppy.  Spying a girl flashing her underwear to another boy in class, Evilenko keeps her after school to clean up the classroom.  He berates her, calling her a whore and then comforting her when she begins to cry.  It�s a practiced, thought out routine, as once he has her vulnerable he attempts to rape her.  However, being faster than the aging Evilenko, she manages to stab him in the shoulder and run away.  Reported to the principal�s office, he is asked to resign and forced to fend for himself.  Convincing himself that the reason for his dismissal is actually a vast conspiracy created by those unfaithful to the party, Evilenko turns his sick mentality into a perverse rage, destroying and devouring the children who put him where he is.  Armed with a hypnotic gaze and a straight razor, he maintains a rampage spanning many years and ultimately claiming more than fifty victims, caught only through the efforts of one tireless detective who was willing to give it all up to stop a monster.

On the surface, Evilenko seems to be a reasonably standard serial killer film.  However, instead of focusing on the pursuit of the killer as is the norm in films like these, this movie instead chooses to spend the majority of it�s time developing the killer as it�s central character.  A risky venture in most hands, it is handled expertly in this film through the wonderful performance of Malcolm McDowell.  His involvement with this project makes it something more than just your average psychological thriller.  Taking what could have otherwise been a generic psychopath role, he brings a certain level of class to the part.  Everything he adds to the character, from his strange gait to the little tics that show that something just isn�t right with the man are inspired and create a very unique beast.  The way he uses his eyes and surprisingly soothing voice add to the hypnotic power that Evilenko possesses, to a point where he really could be charming, if not seductive.  You know, assuming he weren�t raping, murdering and eating kids that is.

The fact that this is based rather faithfully on real life serial killer Andrej Cikatilo makes the film ever the more chilling.  Truth be told it should come as no surprise that there are some sick people in the world.  From Gein to Bundy, Manson to Milat, the real serial killers of this world are more frightening than anything Hollywood could ever come up with.  Perhaps this is why almost every attempt at making a film under the guise of �Based on True Events� has failed both in the fear and truth departments; they present to us the distorted for the sake of screams version of the truth.  Evilenko does not go the route of the standard �Based on True Events� horror film.  It does not distort, skew, or otherwise mess with the facts more than necessary and presents its subjects in almost the style of a documentary.  There is no glamorization to this man�s acts, no reveling in the gruesomeness of his atrocities (almost all of which are kept tastefully off screen), it just shows him to be who he is and his actions simply as what they are.  While this level of almost clinical detail might be deemed rather dry, or dull, by some, it instead adds another level that makes the film more chilling than most of its peers.

In the end, Evilenko is a film that is disturbing on many levels.  Be it the ferocity of his atrocities, the fact that this is all true, or the fact that the level of disillusionment that caused his descent into madness can be found within us all, it�s a truly frightening film, if just taken at a different pace.

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