I know it sounds like another horror movie, right? Well it's not to both of our surprise. Just ignore the title. Its actually an intelligent and interesting movie from Sweden. No zombies at all-Just mean and violent high school students.
Evil was nominated for an Oscar in the foreign language category in 2004. The film was directed by Mikael Håfström, who also directed the questionable 2005 US film Derailed with Jennifer Aniston. Let's put it this way, Evil is head and shoulders above Derailed as far as quality filmmaking and entertainment goes.
The film is about Eric Ponti, a troubled 16 year old in the 1950's, who is thrown out of his school for violent behavior and is sent to a snooty Swedish boarding school to finish his degree. Eric has an extremely abusive and aggressive step-father who clearly is provoking and essentially causing his bad behavior towards others.
Waltzing into the school as the former James Dean loving "bad boy," the main character experiences frat-boy hazing-type antics which catch him completely off-guard. The school is also arranged by all sorts of hierarchical systems including upperclassmen torturing lowerclassman, student's seating order arranged by social status/parent's income etc. The plot of the movie calls into question where "evil" behavior originates. What evil behavior is inate to the individual? What evil behavoir is caused by years of perpetuation of social stigmas and miserable traditions based on classist hierarchies?
Andreas Wilson who plays the main character Eric Ponti gives an extremely memorable and believable performance. In fact, all the actors in this film were amazing and took their roles very seriously. Andreas Wilson could be quite the heart-throb as his career continues. I read up on him a bit, (yes I am admiring men who are playing 16 year olds I know, but really this actor is about 25 in "real life") and he also modeled for Abercrombie and Fitch. Anyway, why dont they make our US male actors half this attractive? All we get is like, Shia LaBeouf and Tobey Maguire pawned off on us. Why Hollywood?
Anyway, sorry about the above digression. I got off track a bit obviously.
Evil is actually based on a book written by one of Sweden's most famous novelists Jan Guillou. It really was a quite shocking and alarming story, and even more alarming is Jan Guillou mentions that he wrote the book based on his own experiences in the 50's at boarding school. Wow. This film makes me want to give my folks a call and thank them for not sending me to boarding school- especially in Sweden- in the middle part of the last century... Well you get the idea.
Acting: A (great performances all around.)
Visuals: A (good period piece with nice cinematography)
DVD A (lots of extra scenes are included here, which could have very easily been integrated into the movie. There is also an interview with the film's writer who talks about how the story was based on his real experience at a Swedish boarding school)
Enjoyability: B (some of the violent scenes are a bit difficult to watch)