Welcome to Cult Corner where we dive through the bargain bins to determine if a movie is trash or treasure. Today’s pick…Peter J. Eaton’s Necessary Evil.
Alright, let’s see if I can make any sense of this plot. A monster is discovered underground. A team lead by Danny Trejo somehow captures it and Lance Henriksen starts harvesting its blood as a drug. One of his cronies gets possessed (kind of) and gains Darth Vader’s force-choke powers. Our reporter heroine Deborah follows a trail of missing persons and anonymous tips until they lead her right into Henriksen’s clutches and chaos ensues.
The first thing you probably noticed is that there are a few fairly recognizable names in that description, but do not be fooled. This is a classic textbook example of selling a movie by presenting whatever name actors you were able to rope into appearing front and center. Henriksen has a lead role. He’s the main villain of the film and he is about as good as he could be given the nonsensical story and pseudo-intellectual jargon they have him spouting off. Danny Trejo is completely wasted. I honestly can’t even remember him saying a single thing throughout the entire movie. He does get an okay fight scene at one point, but his talent is largely wasted.
The rest of the cast is adequate. This is a cheap b movie (as is par for the course here on Cult Corner), but often times it doesn’t feel like it, which is a good thing. Kathryn Fiore plays Deborah, the pregnant reporter trying to find out more about Henriksen’s business and this experimental drug “Reficul” that she’s been prescribed and she’s pretty good. She holds her own against much more recognizable names and I’ve seen much worse acting in much better movies. That’s the high point. The fact that the acting isn’t terrible is the high point. Let that sink in for a second.
Now as for the actual plot and story structure, this movie is a completely incomprehensible mess. We have Henriksen’s thug who is sort-of-not-really possessed by the monster and now has glowing green eyes and telekinetic abilities. On the other hand the monster is still a living, breathing creature that they have locked in the basement. The monster is demonic…or maybe it’s an alien. It’s not entirely clear. Henriksen is trying to do something with this creature’s blood and at one point he calls it his “fountain of youth,” even though he was almost 70 at the time of filming this (and looked it). He’s also kidnapping children and doing weird experiments on them. Then there’s the experimental “Reficul” drug that’s being given to pregnant women and in a twist worthy of Troll 2, take a look at what it spells backwards.
This movie is almost a “so bad it’s good” masterpiece. It starts off promising. Just look at all of the batshit crazy nonsense they throw in! Hell, there are even film noir styled narrations by Henriksen throughout the whole movie! I didn’t even mention the random scary clown, the trippy videos that could have been ripped right out of a Videodrome sequel, or the lapdance for no reason. There are so many moments in this movie that just made me go, “wait what?” but unfortunately there’s a large chunk in the middle that just drags. If the monster showed up earlier and did more then this could have been a lot more fun, but unfortunately they thought they were really making a serious and hard-hitting thriller about pharmaceuticals, so they kept it to a minimum.
When you finally do see the monster, he looks pretty decent. It’s a typical rubber-suit creature that looks like it was taken right out of one of the Guyver movies. Unfortunately…it doesn’t do anything. It shows up, walks around for a bit, and then the movie is over. What a waste. It’s easily the best effect in the movie, since the only other one we get is the awful glowing green eyes from anyone who has telekinetic powers. They look like they were painted on in MS Paint. It’s bad.
Skip this movie. Unnecessary Evil isn’t worth your time. It’s not good enough to be legitimately entertaining and it’s not quick enough to be watchable in spite of that. They were trying to make a really intricate thriller, but the result is a totally incomprehensible mess that loops back in on itself and has some of the most ham-fisted b-movie nonsense shoved in. To say that the two tones juxtaposed together are jarring is an understatement.
Here at Cult Corner we cover the weird and obscure. Given the low budget that these movies often have we feel the need to recognize that entertainment value and quality aren’t always synonymous. That’s why we have opted for the “trash or treasure” approach in lieu of a typical rating system. After all, Troll 2 is incredibly entertaining but it’s no 8 out of 10.