Anthologies and compilation films that group up several directors are a bit of a gamble. Most of the time, I tend to compare these groupings of films to the old TV shows of Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits. There, directors have a conscious clear idea of a premise for a brief format. I used to love those shows, but going into the big screen can be tricky as bigger stories are easily stumped by the time constraint.
The Field Guide to Evil has a cool premise, promising lore throughout the world depicted in the horror genre. I think the fairytale angle of a few of the stories had some potential but as a whole it was a rather frustrating experience. Some stories felt constrained in time, some were just not that interesting and some completely missed the point.
I’m not going to cover them all, but here’s three examples:
- Poland (Agnieszka Smoczynska): I was specially looking forward to this short, after being a fan of Fantasia 2016’s The Lure. The strange premise is promising: a traveler being promised power and prestige if he consumes three human hearts from the recently deceased. Unfortunately the timing doesn’t work to develop it fully.
- US (Calvin Reeder): The melonhead story just failed in all levels for me. Wrong story, wrong setting, wrong time period and I don’t think it was even trying to go for horror. Doesn’t work as a humorous flick either. It just reminded me of better movies.
- Hungary (Peter Strickland): The final short was a silent film depicting the fate of two brothers that try to earn the love of a Princess. This one kinda worked, although, I think it would’ve had a better life as a separate short than part of the compilation.
Not recommended. Seeing potential in a couple of stories is not enough to recommend the overall product. There’s mounting stress in any collection of stories when they fail in a row. I really set my expectations high for this one, but in the end it was more of a disappointment. It was frustrating to sense the collective groan of an audience once a story finishes without delivering the goods and the only thing it offers you is to try again.
That will do for now.