Our Evil [Mal Nosso] (2017) – Film Review
Director: Samuel Galli
Cast: Fernando Cardoso, Ricardo Casella, Ademir Esteves
by Ashleigh Millman
Our Evil is a Brazilian film with no holds barred. With everything from touching sentiment to ghastly practical-effect creations, Samuel Galli takes his audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotion, with its fair share of twists and turns along the way.
Fashioned as a film of two halves, the opening establishes Arthur (Admir Esteves) as a man in need. Trawling the dark web for an assassin with a particular skill set, it isn’t long until he finds the enigmatic Charles (Ricardo Casella), a killer with a taste for scalping his victims on a live video feed. Holding back any second thoughts, Arthur makes contact with the assassin to take out an unexpected target – though it isn’t until they’re murdered that Arthur’s true intentions become clear.
With a flashback to his traumatic past, we learn the secrets that govern Arthur’s morally ambiguous present. One part gruelling drama, one part paranormal mystery-thriller, Our Evil offers genre manipulations in abundance, and does so with exacting skill.
The film is particularly impressive as a first-time venture for Samuel Galli, who functions as writer, producer, and editor in the same breath. Creating a movie that walks the line between good and evil with such meticulous precision is a hard feat to master, much more so for one new to creating genre-based films. Where scenes of exposition might feel unnecessary or elongated, Galli soon reveals their importance to the plot – offering shock revelations and unfolding mysteries in continuously inventive ways.
Coming from the South American market, it’s important to note that foreign-language movies can all so often be looked over in western markets, but with such strong visuals to drive Galli’s narrative home, speech almost becomes a frivolity.
Fusing French extremism with South American spiritualism, the range of Our Evil’s cinematography is rivalled only by the emotional capability of its actors. Esteves and Casella – as the driving force behind the scenes – are particularly mesmerising, with the latter performance from young Arthur (Fernando Cardoso) serving as another naturally engaging choice. The film is an interesting amalgamation of actors, picking its main talent out of theatre shows rather than those trained for on-screen narratives.
For its relatively small production budget and the risk involved in creating something truly original, Our Evil excels as an innovative, exciting piece – with gore enough to shock without being excessive. Galli is certainly one to watch for future projects, and should be proud of his initial foray into filmmaking. It’ll be interesting to see how he builds on his style next.
‘Our Evil’ from Matchbox Films is released on DVD