Written and directed by Joshua Grannell, a mousy librarian inherits her father’s beloved but failing old movie house. In order to save the family business she discovers her inner serial killer – and a legion of rabid gore fans – when she starts turning out a series of grisly shorts. What her fans don’t realise yet is that the murders in the movies are all too real. Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Dekker, Jack Donner, Mikayla Rosario, Noah Segan, Robin Calvert, Julie Caitlin Brown, Mink Stole, and Cassandra Peterson.
Natasha Lyonne has been doing phenomenal work for years, having started out as a child actor in 1986 and becoming a force to be reckoned with ever since. She has an undeniably unique persona, letting her easily get to grips with a wide range of utterly memorable characters, no matter the size of the role. This performance in particular taps into her talent for eccentricity and affinity with the golden age of Hollywood. It’s absolutely, and intentionally, ridiculous in an unhinged, theatrical manner, there may not be a lot to her character but she revels in the violence and attention, which is perhaps more relevant now than it was when it was made over a decade ago.
She’s surrounded by a motley crew of the depraved, creepy and deranged to help her make her deadly shorts, and each of the actors bring exactly that. Then there’s Thomas Dekker, blissfully unaware teen and horror fan, providing a nice balance to the perspective. He provides exactly what you’d imagine, a naïve and eager young man getting mixed up in something he doesn’t understand.
The story is precisely as messy and cheesy as you’d expect, whether you can delight in the trashy is a huge factor of whether you’ll enjoy this. It plays out like a homage to home-movies and people trying their hand at filmmaking for the first time. It’s entirely over the top and silly, not quite a slasher but there are some familiar tones in the way it doesn’t take itself too seriously and focuses on just having fun. It demonstrates a love for the macabre and while it may not have a knack for being graceful, it knows what it’s going for and throws everything it has at it.
Visually it certainly feels like a product of its time, it pays homage to classic horror but can’t capture the same creativity in style. The direction is more along the lines of teen drama than horror, it can’t quite translate Deborah’s lust for violence into the aesthetic. The palette is fairly mundane, the effects work is decent but more flamboyant than surprising or shocking. The pacing is a touch slow at times, with such an exaggerated tone, it could have done with throwing in a few more curve balls to keep you glued in.
All About Evil is a homage to both classic and horror cinema with a home-movie inspired style. It’s trashy, over the top and complete chaos but it’s also entirely aware of that. Natasha Lyonne was a perfect choice to embrace the macabre and she leads the story with delightfully violent tendencies. It may not feel particularly natural or graceful but it’s more than likely that if you’re going to watch this film, that’s not what you’re looking for because if you take it too seriously, it would be impossible to enjoy. It’s intentionally ridiculous so if you can get behind that intention then you’ll likely have a good time with its penchant for the theatrical and bloody.