A poem tells the stories of 5 worldwide feared monsters: the vampire, the werewolf, the zombie, the witch and Satan.
Daniel Lehmussaari has directed a number of horror features such as "Death Academy", "The House of Orphans" and "Svart Död". While his films aren't always my cup of tea, I think once in a while we need to support Swedish horror when we get it. After giving "Svart Död" a so-so review, and it only being the second film I watched from him and Cruzial Film & Media, I wasn't sure what "Children of Evil" would bring. Especially being a short film.
Basically it is made around a poem written by Thom Olausson. The poem is split into 5 verses, each verse describing the life (or being) of a famous monster. It starts with the vampire. The vampire wakes up from his coffin, and then goes out in the western town (not sure when this is set, but it looks like western) to feed on female blood, and then goes back to the coffin again. When the next verse starts it's the werewolf getting a similar treatment. All in all it goes through the vampire, the werewolf, the zombie, the witch and Satan himself.
I have to say that this is a very fun, Halloween-spirited idea to make a short film about. The poem isn't too bad, even if at times a bit simplistic. Using the very established monsters (for lack of better word) already puts us in a sort of awareness that helps us enjoy the rest of the film more.
The problem with "Children of Evil", and the things that eventually makes me feel it's not as good as it could have been, is the execution. They have added film scratches, jitters, etc. which always look very bad on HD video, especially if you don't go deeper than that with your fake reel look. The first reaction ended up as "Oh here we go again..." rather than with interest, which I think is what my reaction would've been hadn't there been scratches on the screen.
If we look past the scratches/reel issue, we still have a few things that makes it less entertaining. The vampire segment worked well, I didn't have a problem with it at all. But as a huge werewolf fan I was very disappointed by the use of an extremely fake looking mask. It felt more like it wanted to be a parody of the genre, and something you would see in a young man's debut short, and not from someone who has numerous feature films released. This really made it hard to enjoy it, unless it was with ridicule (which didn't seem to be the point of it). And that's essentially what's flawed with the other segments as well: the make-up and SPFX. The make-up on the vampire and the Devil especially looked really bad with the use of black eye liner. There's also CGI blood, and it just ends up seeming like they were half-assing it.
"Children of Evil" is a very fun idea that really could've been a classic short film to play during Halloween to get in the right mood (right between "The Monster Squad" and the Universal classics). But in the end they just didn't execute it well enough to do the famous monsters justice - the vampire is alright (I liked the added touch of broken nails) but the rest of them (maybe except for the witch, we didn't get a good look at her) look like they were just ready to go trick or treating, thus taking us out of the movie. Not to mention the lame added film scratches, something almost every movie that uses them suffers from as it just doesn't look good!