Prime Evil (1988) Review
Over the years, the Church, Satan, and cults have played a big part in the horror genre. Some- like “The Exorcist” had a huge impact on the genre, while others try, but fall a little short of the mark.
A Satanic group of monks have survived since the middle ages- sacrificing family members for longevity, wealth, and power. In modern New York, the group has set their eyes on Alexandra Parkman as their next victim. It’s up to Detective Dann Carr to stop them before Satan takes her as his new bride…
I’ll say right off the bat that the premise wasn’t too bad: A group of disillusioned monks form a Satanic cult, and must sacrifice blood relatives every 13 years to remain in Satan’s favour. It could provide some interesting scares and suspense even.
The execution wasn’t as good, unfortunately. To be honest, I felt that it was almost something that had been made in the 1970’s, but released in the 1980’s. The sets, the costumes, the music, the acting- it was very much in the style of the 1970’s. For a film released in 1988, I would’ve expected at least some 1980’s polish to it. The opening scene was pretty good though.
The acting, despite it’s 1970’s feel, wasn’t bad. William Beckwith was fantastic as Thomas Seaton- the leader of the cult. Max Jacobs was great as George Parkman, the member who wanted to take over the cult. Christine Moore gave an okay performance as the leading lady- Alexandra Parkman… but I found myself cheering more for Seaton rather than her. I felt sorry for Gary Warner, who played Detective Dann Carr. His character was entertaining, but didn’t really fit in with the rest of the movie… he was a bit too goofy a character. Warner did a good job, but wasn’t able to make me care about the detective. Other than Beckwith, the only other stand out performer was Mavis Harris as Sister Angela- the nun who infiltrates the cult in order to disrupt its upcoming ritual. Her character and performance were subdued, but strong. Quite enjoyable.
The story does have some minor flaws to it- but nothing that would distract a viewer from what’s happening… though the unrealistic contrast between the humour of the detectives and the more serious tones of the remaiming characters might.
The blood is pretty well done- though I would’ve liked to have seen more throughout the film. The only real disappointment was the demon at the end. I didn’t find it scary at all… just messy and almost unrecognisable as anything really.
“Prime Evil” was entertaining, it had a strong premise, and some great peformances, but it wasn’t executed well enough in the final analysis to make me feel like watching it again.