This is the horror genre. Every movie gets a sequel sooner or later, whether you like it or not. In this case, Screamtime Films and Life After Death Productions resurrected the villain from a slasher flick long forgotten by cinema viewers instead of opting for a popular foe. I’m talking about Jimmy Fisher, the antagonist from Todd Jason Cook’s 1992 b-movie Evil Night. The sequel, Another Evil Night, has been in the filming and editing process since August 2016, but director Jason Harlow is gearing up for its official release this Halloween season. So, if you’re a fan of Evil Night, this one’s for you! Written by Jason Harlow and Justin Bates based on the original characters by Todd Jason Cook, Another Evil Night finds Andrew, a tormented young man, with All Hallow’s Eve right around the corner. Just when he needs a friend the most, he comes into contact with Jimmy Fisher, and shit, everyone needs an apprentice, right? What follows is a hack-and-slash adventure through the small rural town as Andrew is guided through his revenge on those who wronged him by the man who’s done it all before. The feature length directorial debut of Jason Harlow, Another Evil Night stars Ben Purvis, Kayla Williams, Tommie Vegas (“Vice Squad,” Virus of the Dead), Grant Slattery, Sammy Gordon, Gage Collins, Michelle Chambers, Rachel Franks and Jason Harlow as Jimmy Fisher.
There’s a lot to dissect here, so let me jump right into it. Ever since the development of Another Evil Night was announced by Jason Harlow, I’ve been pumped to see this movie. Granted, I’ve never seen 1992’s Evil Night before, but the clips and trailers I found online made me feel like the original movie was a hidden gem. Some people hate sequels, but I see them as a cool opportunity to expand on a character and their surroundings as long as the material is handled right. While it’s true that you get the gist of the first title through an opening title sequence, references and a scene from the original movie, I don’t think a lot is brought to the table in terms of content outside of Jimmy taking on Andrew as an apprentice of sorts and a pumpkin patch that seemingly draws the two men together. Much of the movie is spent with characters, mostly Jimmy, walking around aimlessly or b-roll and establishing shots taking up room in a story that could have gone much further. As a reviewer, this feels like a quick and easy attempt to finish filming/editing the movie without a lot of regard for overall quality. The acting is good, the special effects are fun, the camera work is crisp and clear, but I wanted something to get involved in, something to get me excited. For this reason, I think Another Evil Night failed at delivering a compelling story, even as far as traditional slasher flicks are concerned.
Another Evil Night is produced by Jason Harlow, Joseph D. Harlow, Tyler Keehner and Brian Larimer with executive producer Todd Jason Cook. It features cinematography by Jacob Gordon and editing by Jason Harlow. Even though the film utilizes a lot of expensive locations and feels like the atmosphere of Halloween in a realistic way, I have to say that this film suffers from a lot of problems behind-the-scenes. Namely the audio trouble that plagues the feature from start to finish and the rough cuts that happen on almost every occasion. The audio is hazy throughout and each cut happens so abruptly and changes to another scene of such different contrast that it shakes you out of the viewing experience. When coupled with the lack of honest and true narrative, Another Evil Night comes off as a clusterfuck that never knows in which direction its headed. The theme of revenge is lost on the viewer and the telekinesis subplot is all but glazed over in a film that looks great but falls to pieces when literally examined piece by piece. I so desperately wanted to champion this film, especially as a source for independent horror and as someone who respects what b-movies bring to the table, but I was let down in a big way here. Not to mention, Another Evil Night just kind of ends without the anticipated final fight that slasher fans look for. Carve a sad face into my orange pumpkin…
Still, there are some redeemable qualities in Another Evil Night. Jimmy and Andrew kill Andrew’s bullies fairly early on in the movie, and the rest of the flick is a murder spree of epic properties as they work their way through town. This gives Another Evil Night an above-average body count and that gratification that gore hounds are looking for. And, despite its faults behind the camera, this feature does contain a few really beautiful shots. At its core, Another Evil Night is a retro, rock and roll slasher and a sequel that lives up to the potential of its predecessor but will probably be massacred by the masses in 2019. Despite my hopes for this title, I’m going to go with a split decision and go right up the middle. Final Score: 5 out of 10.