Directed by Yorgos Noussias
Evil in the Time of Heroes is the type of movie that makes you say “Wow!” But it’s not like “Wow! How awesome is this!?” or “Wow! It’s amazing!” It’s more like “Wow! This is ridiculous.” or “Wow! I wish this was over.”
Yorgos Noussias, director and co-writer of this tragic Greek zombie apocalypse project, seemed to be going for some type of horror-comedy here, but it doesn’t work at all. Maybe I don’t get Greek humor, but the country is not known for horror and it just seemed like random attempts to get laughs shoehorned into a zombie attack that was taken quite seriously at some points… when not heavy-handedly trying to be funny.
What we have is a zombie apocalypse in the present time that apparently also happened thousands of years ago in the same place. As we see our heroes fighting for their lives, we also see scenes of the ancient people battling zombies as well. There is certainly plenty of zombie violence to go around. In the present day we find that the infection is limited to Athens so the world figures the best way to wipe out the problem is to simply bomb the city, and the clock for that deadline is ticking.
Evil in the Time of Heroes is meant to be a prequel to the other Greek zombie movie, simply entitled Evil (or To Kako for those who prefer the native language). It has the same director and many of the same actors, but prequels are usually most enjoyable when they shed some light on questions left unanswered from the original, but Evil in the Time of Heroes does none of that at all. In fact the entire experience is so painfully disjointed that you spend half the run time asking more questions, like “Is that guy immortal somehow?”, “Wait, can this guy fly now?”, “Is Billy Zane a Jedi?”
And although this is the second movie in a series, some character development would be nice. Evil in the Time of Heroes gives you absolutely zero in the way of introducing just who the hell everyone is. Granted, they mostly all appeared in the original, but it’s not as if To Kako is Day of the Dead and there are some new characters as well. A little run-down of just who is who would be nice. And maybe a couple of rules as well. How can Billy Zane’s character jump from ancient Greece forward through millennia into present times? Yes, as viewers we will accept any reason you give us, just give us some explanation. Anything.
This being said, there is one standout feature to Evil in the Time of Heroes and that’s the practical effects work. They definitely bring the bloodshed, and if that’s all you need to enjoy your zombie show, then you’ll at least get a tickle here. Now mind you, the actual zombie makeup is pretty minimal and shoddy in all but the rarest cases, and when digital effects are used, they are not nearly as impressive. But the zombie kills and the bites and the hackings that are done the old-fashioned way are, for the most part, very, very impressive and entertaining. If it’s merely bloodshed you’re looking for, look no further. The more culturally-minded viewers will also enjoy some impressive shots of the Greek landscape.
So you’ve got lack of character development and a ragged, muddied storyline with tons of (mostly poorly made-up) zombies, but entertaining kills with quality practical F/X and loads of undead everywhere. For all the viewers who bash “The Walking Dead” every week, claiming it’s nothing more than a zombie-flavored soap opera, this should be just what you’re looking for.
Evil in the Time of Heroes makes an attempt at horror-comedy, but there are just too many negatives to recommend this one. A couple chuckles and hit and miss F/X are not enough to save a movie full of characters you don’t care about living out a story that’s only half explained to the audience. Take a pass here.
1 1/2 out of 5