Evilenko opens with creepy pedophile teacher Andrej Romanovic Evilenko (Malcolm McDowell) trying to have his wicked way with an eleven year old girl in his classroom. It goes wrong (for the pedo) and he is forced to resign from his job. Almost immediately, he pens a series of cranky letters to the KGB and they - seeing in him a true Communist - sign him up. Why the KGB is so quick to accept a man based on his penmanship is never explained. Evilenko goes on to kill a bunch of fellow Russians - children and women - over a period of several years, although there is no hint of time passing in this film. A series of seemingly unconnected scenes is all we get, and occasionally someone will say something like "He's been killing people for five years and we still can't catch him!". Film-making at its best.
An Italian production, the already weird dialogue has been mangled into English, reminiscent of a badly dubbed spaghetti western. The stilted performances and the frequent dubbing of children with adult voices doesn't help. Nor does the terrible script where all characters address each other by their full name at all times. In the background, someone seems to be leaning on a casio keyboard set to church organ mode, so simplistic is the score. The 'music' also runs between shots which are clearly meant to be some time apart, giving the impression of continuity without actually meaning to.
The film is split into two kinds of scene. Firstly, there are the scenes where Evilenko is chatting up kids with a view to killing them. Thankfully, we are spared any gruesome detail, although in one Evilenko manages to kill a boy in a train toilet with a straight razor, painting the walls red in the process, yet he emerges from the tiny cubicle miraculously free from gore after just washing his hands and face. Surely his clothes and shoes would be absolutely covered in blood? Never mind, it's incidental details like that which only slow films down by relying on things like believability.
After about half an hour we are introduced to the other type of scene - the long and boring police investigation headed by Vadim Timurovic Lesiev (Marton Csokas), with witless personality free cops vaguely on the trail of the one-note killer. This really is a terribly dull film, and McDowell once again shows that there is no subtelty left in his arsenal (if it was ever present at all). Every line is growled in a way that is presumably meant to be scary or creepy. After an hour of this mush I was praying for it to end, only to find that I was just past the half way mark.
There is so little entertainment or character in this film that it actually becomes hard to classify. It's patently not a "slasher" film like Friday the 13th or Halloween, because it has the stone-cold unpleasantness of a child-killing pedophile. Although there are heavy sexual thems in most slasher films, the targets are mainly teenagers, so it's ok to sexualise them and no-one cares if they get killed as long as it's good and gory. It's also not a cat-and-mouse 'cop vs serial killer' film like, say, Manhunter, because it's not intelligent enough, and the cop is a personality free gimp, much like his quarry. Also, the investigation is so poorly written that we get no sense of the cops doing anything other than standing around at murder scenes and talking about Communism.
Worse is to come. What happens in the final quarter is nothing short of bizarre, as suddenly Evilenko is able to hypnotise people just by looking at them. The funniest scene involves him putting the mesma-stare on detective Lesiev, who regresses to childhood and puts on a weird childish voice and blubs. Then he and McDowell take their clothes off and have a chat before Lesiev gives Evilenko a handjob, shouting "Look at your prick!". Turns out he wasn't hypnostised at all! Or he snapped out of it. It's never clear. Oh, and there's still half and hour to go. Fantastic.
What Evilenko clearly purports to be is an analogy for the fall of Communism, something it bluntly points out through the film's one interesting character, the gay Doctor Richter (Ronald Pickup), who is quickly despatched in ludicrous fashion for threatening to actually act a little bit. He says things which are essentially just "Russia is tearing itself apart, thanks to the way Communism isn't working anymore, and Evilenko is really just an analogy for the rise of capitalism, perestroika and Gorbachev". More top-drawer film-making. If you can spell it out easily in ten foot flaming letters, it's your duty to do so.
In the same vein, then.....You walk into a toilet, and Malcolm McDowell is over in the corner with a child, looking sheepish. He points to the child, then to his cock, all the time looking at you and shouting "COMMUNISM!". On the mirror over the sink, someone has written the script for the film in their own faeces. The director enters, pisses all over everyone and everything and then flushes a bunch of money down the pan, and kicks you in the eye. The End.
Note : Evilenko is only very loosely based on the life and times of Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo. At no point is it stated that this film is based on reality, although the similarities are glaring (read the article on Chiktalo on wikipedia here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chikatilo). This is not a film of a true story, but there is also too much real-life similarity for it to be called a work of true fiction. It falls somewhere in between.