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Evil Ed (1995)
Blu-ray Released: 5/30/2017
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/30/2017
When you think of Sweden, what comes to mind? IKEA? ABBA? Volvo? Swiss chocolates? (Oh wait, I guess that's Switzerland, isn't it?) Looking at that list -- except for the chocolate thing, sorry -- what we see are things known for being efficient and for quality products. Something which Sweden is not famous for is horror films. Whether it has to do with the entertainment tastes of Swedes or the overall vibe of the country, the list of scary movies which have originated from Sweden is quite short. Probably the most famous Swedish film which even skirts horror is the overratedLet the Right One In. However, one which made a small splash upon its release in 1995 is Evil Ed.
Edward (Johan Rudebeck) works at (what I presume is a post-production house) as a film editor. He is very fastidious in his work and is known for his efficiency (hey, he's Swedish after all). Sam Campbell (Olof Rhodin), the head of the company's horror division, calls Edward in for help, as his "Loose Limbs" movies are very popular. Despite his lack of interest in the project, he is tasked with editing the extreme violence out of the movies so that they can be sold to certain foreign markets. Edward is placed in an empty house with an editing bay and put to work. However, watching the scenes of depraved sex and violence for hours on end begins to take a toll on Edward. At first, he has hallucinations, but when some intruders enter the house, it becomes apparent that the movies have had a definite effect on him.
Before we dive into the true meat of Evil Ed, let's look at the quasi-political message which the movie is sending. For years, various groups have argued that viewing violent images would lead to violent behavioral. For some reason, Evil Ed also seems to support this notion. At the outset, Ed is presented as a mild-mannered and meek person. By the end of the film, he's a homicidal maniac. The only reason which we are given for this transformation is the fact that he's been watching explicit material. But, why would a movie which was clearly made by horror fans want to send this kind of message. Is this all part of a joke which isn't readily apparent?
Whatever the case, attempting to read too much into this movie is most likely an exercise in futility, as Evil Ed clearly isn't about any deep messages. No, this movie exist for two reasons. One is to be an homage to The Evil Dead. If that's not obvious from the title, or the fact that there's a character named "Sam Campbell", an obvious combination of Director Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell from the Evil Dead series, then it should be obvious from the film's use of roving cameras and gore. The film's other raison d'etre is to move from one wacky scene to another. After an eventful opening in which we see another editor having a personal meltdown, Evil Ed becomes very episodic as we watch Edward descend into madness. This involves scenes which never gel and seem only to exist in order to show off someone's skills in special effects. From the monster in the refrigerator to the imprisoned mad scientist, Edward's hallucinations certainly show some diversity, but they don't contribute to any sort of truly cohesive story in any way.
And therein lies the problem with Evil Ed -- there's nothing to latch on to with this movie. There's no character development -- Edward is a normal guy who goes bad, and no one else gets enough screen time to have any impact. The story, as it is, simply goes from nothing to kill scenes. The finale wants to be action-packed, but all we get is an odd mixture of moments where Edward kills people and a group of inept soldiers shoot at him, but can't hit him for some reason. And we're never told why going crazy makes Edward strong. Evil Ed is yet another one of those movies which I remember seeing on the video store shelf, but never took home. The movie got some attention, as the home video cover depicted a head being split in half with an ax. Unfortunately, this shot is not in the movie. If you are going for a good home to Evil Dead from Sweden, then check out the 2012 filmWither.
Evil Ed made film editing look much easier than it is on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Arrow Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 37 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, but there are some issues. Some shots show slight grain, while others show extreme grain. The image is also slightly dark at times. The colors look good, as the film features some garish tones in some places. The level of detail is OK, but the picture looks somewhat flat. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.7 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This has the familiar sound of a rebuilt 5.1 track, as it we perfectly serviceable dialogue and stereo effects, but the surround and subwoofer effects are very, very subtle. Save for the scene with that thing in the refrigerator -- but the least said about that, the better.
The Evil Ed Blu-ray Disc conains several extra features. "You Keep 'Em Heads Rollin'" (46 minutes), which is subtitled "Remembering Evil Ed", is a making-of documentary. Writer/Director Anders Jacobsson, Writer Goran Lundstrom, actor Johan Rudebeck, and other talk about the genesis of and journey into the film, touching on several specific parts of the production. "Before Ed" (10 minutes) looks at the early projects from the production team, while "Beyond Ed" (10 minutes) has the team talking about what they've done since. "Reconstructing Edward" (21 minutes) takes us behind the scenes to see the creation of the "Special Ed-ition". "New Scenes" (5 minutes) examines the unseen moments which inserted for the new cut of the film. The Disc contains a reel of DELETED SCENES which run about 22 minutes and contain some introductions by the filmmakers and some text explanations of what we are seeing. We get seven different TRAILERS for the film, as well as an "Image Gallery". A separate Blu-ray Disc contains the original cut of the film, along with "Lost in Brainland" a 366-minute look at the making of the film, as well as a 5-minute reel of "Bloopers" from the making of.
Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long