Stars: Richard Speight Jr, Cameron Richardson, Lindsey Ginter, Anthony L.Fernandez, Gene Gabriel, Ted Heyck, James Crosby | Written and Directed by Kathryn F. Taylor
Kathryn F. Taylor makes her writing, directing and producing debut with horror flick The Evil Gene. I say this as, watching the film, it’s interesting to know that this is a project from someone very much new to filmmaking. In some ways it shows, but in other ways she shows a keen eye for it and displays skills that are needed to sculpt a long career.
Griff (Richard Speight Jr) is an agent in the FBI who is given the job to go to a correctional facility. It’s here that Griff encounters inmates that aren’t exactly what you’d call “the usual”, but rather sufferers of some kind of disorder that causes them to become extremely violent and psychotic. The more time he spends in the place, though, the more Griff begins to develop an opinion that there is more going on than meets the eye, and that something much more sinister, or evil if you will, is afoot.
I think horror movies set in prisons or similar facilities are pretty rare, and they are a type that I like to see crop up. It’s a setting I’m fond of and one that I feel offers lots of opportunity to the horror genre, with the various regulations as well as location points on offer. The Evil Gene isn’t a film that suffers from bad choice of setting, but it does suffer in other ways. The writing, sadly, is at times very weak and the story itself is on the flat side. I think the location and darkness creeping in and leading to psychotic breaks could have been much more action filled and exciting. It is just too dull, sadly.
Speight Jr (Independence Day) is okay in the lead role though at times he seems like he perhaps doesn’t have his heart in it. For me, Cameron Richardson (Adrift) who played Dana was the star of the show and had the best performance on offer here. The actors aren’t really to blame for the shoddy film that The Evil Gene turns out to be, but rather the inexperience of its writer/director. Taylor’s story feels confused and even messy at times and the lack of focus hinders enjoyment.
I didn’t hate the film, I do want to say that. I thought there were some cool ideas in here and a few sequences that kept my interest, but it also isn’t a film I could happily claim to have enjoyed.
The Evil Gene is out now on DVD and VOD.