What the hell is going on in “Evil in the Time of Heroes”?

There have been a regular horde of marching zombies since Romero’s seminal work,  but not many films try to explain the phenomenon of the dead folks rising.  Evil in the Time of Heroes explains the zombies, but also needs to explain itself.

Walking the same line as its zombie flick forefathers, the film follows a rag tag group of survivors, equally assorted in weaponry and personality.  The catch is, this isn’t the first time that Greece encountered zombies. Flashbacks display shields and sandals slaughtering the undead during Greek’s historic height, even as the contemporaries follow the same path.  Connecting these histories is the time traveling jedi, played by Billy Zane.

I haven’t been this discombobulated about a film since Night Watch.  For those who’ve seen this Russian vampire movie, you know I don’t mean that it or Evil in the Time of Heroes are intellectually challenging: just that it’s difficult to make heads or tales of what’s occurring on screen.*

The theme to the confusion is paradoxical: where one or two characters are paper thin, others feel adequately presented; the film is funny, but is it trying to be funny?  Does it know it’s being funny?  It feels like watching Shaun of the Dead with random parts of 300 cut into the film.  At the end it just comes out as the ultimate mashup film.

I must also say, this film marinades in a bath of hemoglobin, reminiscent of Zombi 2 and Dead Alive/Brain Dead.**  But don’t worry, as the survivors fight their way through the film, there’s also plenty of mashed, and bashed limbs and exposed viscera to compliment your gushing fluids.***

If you were to put the now much abused internet phrase “WTF” under a microscope and look at its components at a cellular level, you’ll see DVD copies of Evil in the Time of Heroes floating around.

Funny, surreal, bloody…insert your choice adjective and it probably fits.  WTF indeed.

*not to mention Evil ‘s poor subtitling: white letters are hard to see and not everything is translated

**the latter being another confusing concoction of horror comedy

***even in terms of special effects it goes back and forth inflecting different tones, looking cheep and in other instances disgustingly real

5 responses to “What the hell is going on in “Evil in the Time of Heroes”?

  1. Pingback: Edinburgh International Film Festival Begins! Day 1 Roundup « The Filmsmith

  2. I would disagree with the majority of this review. At no point during the watching did I ever suspect the “wtf” moments weren’t intentional. The director knew exactly what he was doing, and the entire crowd watching in the showing I attended were laughing at all the right points. Yes it’s a bit whacked out, but how many other zombie films have really done the surrealist? Moments like *SPOILER ALERT* Vakirtzis outrunning the bullet, or The Cook using a boomerang *SPOILERS OVER* are absoluttely brilliant.

    And asking for certain characters to be “better fleshed out”? Fair enough if this were the Godfather, but it’s a zombie film. Those who require backstory are given it, those who don’t, aren’t. Bear in mind, this is a sequel. In short, I feel you are being overly critical of a hilarious, unique and completely self aware zombie comedy. And I feel you are in the minority in doing so. Nightwatch sucked, Evil in the time of heroes was fantastic.

    • The Filmsmith

      I was laughing at a lot of the points you highlighted, and by no means was I expecting The Godfather – I knew the tone to expect. I just didn’t see how all the parts fit together was all.

      But, I can see where you’re coming from, Rooch. Thanks for the feedback and for talking about the film; too often internet critiques attack the person and not their argument, so I appreciate the civility in your contrary opinion.

      • No problem 🙂 Ad hom is too easy a road to fall down for internet warriors. Fact is I don’t know you to attempt any insults, and even if I did, it’s your opinion for better or worse. Ultimately this film does neatly fit into the letters “WTF” because a great deal of it really is. At the very end, the thing that happens to the marine, everyone in the audience was like “eh?” But in the after film Q&A, the director basically just said “Why the fuck not?”. Now whilst it would better if this was communicated in the film, certainly that style of film making really works, and everyone I spoke to came out with an overwhelmingly positive opinion of the film. It’s definitely a bit disjointed and crazy, but it works, at least in my and my friends opinions.


  3. Pingback: In Conclusion: The Best and Worst of the Edinburgh International Film Festival « The Filmsmith

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