Evie (2023) Movie Review - Soggy, Slow Paced, English Horror

Cover from horror movie Evie (2023)
  • Director: Dominic Brunt, Jamie Lundy
  • Actors: Holli Dempsey, Jay Taylor, Michael Smiley
  • Writers: Dominic Brunt, Jamie Lundy
  • Producers: Joanne Mitchell
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Violence, Self Harm, Language, Upsetting Themes

On a beach young Evie finds an accursed necklace unwittingly freeing an evil water demon intent on claiming her and loved ones.

Welcome to Knockout Horror and to our review of Evie from 2023. This one is doing the rounds on Prime Video at the moment but I believe it first hit the circuit back in 2021. It follows the story of a young girl who finds a necklace washed up on a beach. Unwittingly wearing it and unleashing an evil that tears her world, and her family, apart.

Evie is directed and written by the team of and Dominic Brunt. The latter of which played the vet Paddy in the Yorkshire based, evening staple, soap opera Emmerdale. That won’t mean a thing to readers outside of Britain but I thought it deserved a mention. I had no clue he was directing horror movies but here we are. Incidentally, all of his films appear to be very poorly received so maybe he should go back to acting.

The Trouble With British Horror

British horror movies can be a little difficult to review. Despite being Welsh myself and despite some of the highest rated movies on this site being British. I am never overly excited when I see that trademark washed out filming style set against a backdrop of muddy skies and dreary weather. British horror just doesn’t really do it for me.

A screenshot from horror movie Evie (2023)

Give me something European, Australian or Asian over the UK any day. With that being said, there is a certain degree of production quality that goes in to the majority of British horror movies. They tend to feature a competent cast, an interesting, artsy, filming style and no small amount of attention to detail. This makes even the most boring and dull of British horror movies look, at least aesthetically, better than they are. They are rarely overtly awful and that is where today’s movie Evie comes in.¬†

Evie looks nice. The cinematography draws you in immediately. An ominous soundtrack plays competent backup to the visuals and everything seems rather well put together. Sure the story is slow moving and a little over familiar. But it’s looking pretty good, so far. As we make our way to the second third of the movie, however, things start to fall apart. The story takes a massive leap into the future and things suddenly seem far less interesting.

A Whole Lot of Nothing

The next two thirds of the movie flit back and forth between the current time, flashbacks to Evie’s childhood and flashbacks to the recent past. We see that adult Evie is a complete mess of a person and we don’t really know why. The remaining run time is devoted, almost entirely, to slowly extrapolating on what made her like this.

The story takes the scenic route to get back around to what was, nothing short of, completely predictable all along. Nothing particularly interesting happens, characters are paddling pool shallow and the ending is as chaotic as it is ridiculous. This is one of those horror movies that is simply unsatisfying.

A screenshot from horror movie Evie (2023)

You can see where the story is going yet you are still disappointed when it goes there. It’s all the more frustrating when the movie thumbs its nose at you. Gleefully relishing in the plot “revelations” as if you hadn’t already guess what was going to happen 40 minutes ago. Throw in a whole bunch of neglected story telling when it comes to the main theme of the movie and you have an utterly disappointing horror.

A Few Good Points

As mentioned above, this is a British horror so the artsy, gritty, veneer of well made indie horror is present and accounted for. The movie looks fantastic. Shots are well set up and Edward Ames’s cinematography does a lot of heavy lifting. Sound production is decent and the soundtrack is very fitting.

Acting is fantastic. Holli Dempsey does a brilliant job as adult Evie and turns in a very realistic and authentic performance. Jay Taylor is equally effective in a slightly more restrained role. It is just really well done by the cast, much like a lot of UK horror. Scripting is fine and feels very natural, for the most part, with only the latter stages of the movie falling foul of horror cliché.

A screenshot from horror movie Evie (2023)

Pacing and direction, however, is very messy with the later revelations feeling particularly ham-fisted and rushed. I would have like to have seen more of the child Evie to learn more about her character. Rather than simply presenting us with a young girl that was simply good before becoming a pain in the arse.

Should You Watch Evie?

Whether you should watch Evie or not really depends on your tolerance for slow moving, flawed, horror. It looks good, there’s a nice folk horror vibe about it, and the acting is fantastic. But the story is cliched, the folklore elements are inaccurate and ineffectively implemented and the scares are non-existent. It will probably leave you disappointed and wishing you hadn’t wasted your time. I think it deserves a heap of criticism for the fake 10/10 reviews littering IMDB as well.

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