The anthology is a tried and true format for horror, allowing filmmakers to explore a theme or feeling without the burden of having to carry it out to feature length. The short allows for a broader range of styles, and in The Field Guide to Evil you can see the opportunity to play in the format leading down interesting avenues as a global array of filmmakers look at different folktales and folklore to explore some more modern issues. When it works, it works well, and when it doesn’t…well, there are still some interesting visual to be had.
THE QUICK SUMMARY: Eight tales from across the globe use old tales and folklore to explore timeless themes. From Austria, two young girls explore a forbidden love and through their sin summon the Trud. From Turkey, a young pregnant woman caring for an elderly invalid grandmother steals a broach, only to evoke the wrath of Al Karisi, the Childbirth Djinn. From Poland, a kindler (one who stirs up malcontent) consumes the hearts of the dead at the advice of a mysterious woman to gain power and wisdom. From America, a family trip into the woods turns deadly when a couple’s young child meet a strange new friend with a rather large head. From Greece, a goblin arises from the world below to check out the city only to find that a pagan partier is just as interested in checkin gout the below. From India, an obtainer of freaks and curiosities for the circus gets an eyeful when he learns of a god being kept in a palace cellar. From Norway, two brother vie for the love of beautiful princess, the results of which are the stuff of nightmares…
There is a lot of strength to these shorts, coming from some of the best creators of indie horror in recent years. When you have the folks behind Goodnight Mommy, The Lure, Nothing Bad Can Happen and the insane Baskin ( all of which I highly recommend) you’re going to get some visceral moments, and the segments from each of these really work to get under your skin.
Others don’t fare as well. The campy “Beware the Melonheads” has a bit of a freaky vibe at the end but really doesn’t comment on anything other than its own strangeness, while the B&W entry “The Palace of Horrors” is interesting but doesn’t have the visual flair of the other entries. But overall The Field Guide to Evil has enough strong segments to recommend viewing.