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