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I won't pretend to be a shining beacon of sobriety. Like most people, I like to get fucked up, have my favorite poisons and may, or may not, have an experimental past to look back fondly upon in my older (more boring) years. One thing I have always had trouble understanding was the motivations behind taking hallucinogens in an unfamiliar place, like say, while camping. Even at my most reckless, part of me knew it was a bad idea to put my mind and perception to an unpredictable state, while in an area that was not deeply known to me or designed with human safety in mind. To me, it's one thing to trip balls in a house, where not only do you instinctively function but also enjoy the protection of walls and other safeguards engineered to keep dangerous forces of the outside world at a minimum. As a species we have spent centuries designing a living quarter that makes us exempt from the outside (original) order of things. It is fucking safe behind our locked doors in comparison, enough to give even the dimmest of our kind a good chance. Outside in the real world, otherwise known as nature, dumbass living things die all the time, and I have to assume that’s what I will be when on hallucinogenic drugs, no matter what I think in the enlightened (or impaired) moment. Even at those pre-set camping areas, a good number of societies bumpers are left out, really, that's why you go in the first place. At certain points in my life, the custom was more appealing, mostly due to the fact that motivations revolved around finding places to exist as an intoxicated teenager. But even then, part of me longed for the safety of the normal garage or bedroom when the shit kicked in. To each their own, I guess. I’m definitely not judging if your actual plan is to have an LSD induced vision while you die at mother nature's hand, that sounds pretty noble, in a really fucked up way.  I'm also obviously not talking about just good old fashioned drunk (or non-dreamquest type fucked up) camping, which seems as natural as hot dogs or fold-out chairs for some reason. My only issue is with the kind of intoxicated where you might see some shit. It makes me nervous, because I feel like that could go bad. Or really, really bad--like in Dropping Evil (2012).
After an abrupt piece of foreshadowing, the story starts off much like a lot of low budget camp slashers, except that the music sounds like it was made around the same time as Pete and Pete was on the air. We meet a young couple, Samantha (Rachel Howell) and Mike (Thomas Alan Taylor) just as Samantha is finishing up band practice. It seems the two have been planning a trip, but much to Mike’s dismay, Samantha has invited her less “cool” friend Becky () along. She also, out of the blue, suggests that Mike invite his awkward, Jesus obsessed (mostly estranged) friend Nancy () as well, with plans to feed them drugs without their knowledge, in hopes to initiate some kind of relationship between the two outcasts. It really doesn't sound like a good idea, and Mike originally rejects the whole scam. In an unprecedented negotiating technique, they then have a handsy make out sesh to some tunes (How did you get a recording of the annoying Nirvana guy with a guitar at my high school? Amazing!), after which he agrees to her terms. Later in the locker room, Mike waits for Nancy to finish being bullied and reluctantly invites him. In return, he mostly receives an earful of rhetoric on the Bible's stance and a long look at Nancy's ass as he showers. Mike, successfully defeated, heads home for some more, almost musical, moments in the bedroom, but for whatever reason, Nancy calls to say he has changed his mind. With all of the pieces needed for Samantha's (still somewhat murky) plan in place, they load up and embark on a quest towards the campsite with Samantha’s secret LSD in tow. Unfortunately, we soon find out the acid only sets Nancy's crazed Christian warrior mode to a deadly level, and as luck would have it, the whole trip is being monitored by a mega-corporation (Valyoucorp), (in the midst of a bidding war with an immortal) through a secret cybernetic eyeball, implanted into one of the campers. From there everyone gets killed and/ or gets an anime style magical power,  shows up while taking a bath in an unrelated location, and God abandons all of mankind. I won't spoil the weird stuff.
The film’s story takes just as much from movies like Scanners (1981) and from comic books as it does the camp-slashers it initially seems to be inspired by, if not more. The unwillingly drugged up killer-zealot angle could fill a whole film, but here it's just an introduction to a convoluted plot where everyone (just fucking everybody) involved has a complicated backstory. It's all over the place and involves the likes of religious fanatics, menacing super corporations and some kind of Highlander TV show style bag guy. Things are less a "reference" to other material than similar works. The elements are unique and more random but still seem as if they were grown from a compost of 80s movies, superhero comics, and anime. I enjoy the crazed mess.  There is a lot of interesting tongue-in-cheek elements floating around its extremely goofy but robust world. The structure seems to be an effort to bring the viewer in on the “trip” using distinct offbeat chunks and connects them in strange ways. It doesn't quite hit that point where you might feel like you are on drugs, but it is weird as fuck for sure. Characters are incredibly filled out as if they are only making an appearance outside of their own long-running story arch, on their way to the next crossover. I get the feeling that every important point in history and motivation has been mapped out in each eccentric character, no matter how goofy it outwardly seems. It's a sensation like watching through a final episode of a tv show that had years to develop, connect unnecessary dots and over complicate its storyline (in a good way or at least better than that sounds). It keeps a fast pace and uses quick jumps between equally interesting subplots to keep things lively and entertaining, even if not always coherent. There is a lot to say about going for such nonstandard ideas (in mass) in a low budget horror movie like this one and even more about making the final product enjoyable.
The fact that group of unfortunate campers being monitored by a manipulative agency is somewhat akin to The Cabin in the Woods (2012) which came out the year before it, but it takes a much grimier, avant-garde approach. The similarities aren't strong enough to have been lifted. More likely, the films take influence and lampoon the same genre tropes and topics. There is a lot of Firestarter (1984) in there, but the roots are less obvious than current phenomenon Stranger Things. The unique run at ideas goes somewhere beyond tribute or acting as “send-ups” are just kind of absorbed into the throbbing cinema mutation. While the first parts mostly harken back to multiple “into the woods type slashers”, towards the end it's somewhere closer to Chronicle (2012) or the La Femme Nikita series on crack. Despite the common bloodline with other flicks, it is it's own bizarre, one of kind thing, and even it's obvious influences feel like a natural part of the madness. In its effortless lunacy it threads together some kind of unimaginable battle between mega-corporations, living gods, government officials and super mutants, then packaged it as a harmless low budget camp slasher(complete with bad dialogue and teens that look too old to be teens).
To add to its acid motif, the film utilizes several different color schemes throughout that depend upon the characters or setting. A Lot of the second half is done in that high contrast digital “indie” black and white, as it accompanies the scenes involving the corporation forces as they observe the four “subjects” from unnamed headquarters. Most of the technical blemishes could be chocked up to intentional flavoring. It wears the lower budget well and puts its strengths out front. There are a few quick moments of gore that are pretty nice, but they are reserved enough to look relatively realistic. Some shit gets forcefully implanted into people's faces sometimes, including a particularly fun scene involving a well-aimed tree branch. Most of the sound quality is on par for its budget-- dialogue gets a little far away at times. Music-wise, the out-of-time soundtrack is completely hit or miss (as in-- extremely annoying or fantastically random). There is a combination of lax, possibly consciously amateur and well thought out camera angles. Depending on what's on screen, the combination of effects and film quality change drastically. The distinct chunks of the film almost seem to have been filmed at completely separate times, under separate conditions,  and are really only tied together by tv displays and a single connecting scene. This blends together in a way that feels like part of the movie's style, and the ostensibly stochastic editing choices match the plot as its delirious (more bat-shit) qualities intensify.
The bulk of the film’s acting is amateur but is still a step above the majority of low budget horror films. The would-be gang of protagonists all seem to be fittingly terrible actors in the first parts of the film, as it starts out setting itself up to be a straightforward camp slasher filled with cliches. I haven't seen any of them in anything else, as far as I know. Everybody seems to be having fun, and in the end (what would be) the main cast are all perfect for their characters. As the crazy Christian/drugged-up serial-killer Nancy, Zachary Lint plays a damaged religious nut-bag respectably and really starts feeling the role once the drugs kick in, despite rocking some tattoos that, for some reason, feel out of place for a Bible-thumper. I liked the evil Gordon Freeman meets the lead singer of a God-core band thing he had going on.  A Lot of the various (possibly more known) actor’s parts in the film could be called extended cameos. Of note, Tiffany Shepis, who, as always, is awesome. I have talked about her before, and this film is another good example of why she is one of the modern b-movie greats. Her part is little more than a few adequately confusing scenes, but “Dionysia” ends up being a highlight of the film’s many characters.  Who knows what the fuck is going on there, but she sells the shit out it and of course, looks great. The original Hitchhiker, Edwin Neal (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 19 74), makes an appearance as a corrupt US president (with an extended deleted scene). Armin Shimerman ( it took me the whole movie to remember he was the principal from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) plays the unnamed CEO of the evil corporation,Valyoucorp. He handles the role with his usual expertise on possibly-evil authority figures. There is even a little Fred Williamson in there somewhere and that's always a bonus. 
The film may lose some people, as it never decides what kind of film it really is. The makeshift X-Men type shit and art house(ish) moments may turn off some of the more strict horror fans. It has quite a lot of references, parody, and meta-humor but your more mainstream homies will probably be mostly confused (or angry) if they go in thinking its a “parody” horror movie, like Cabin in the Woods. It would probably only enrage--whatever an indie film kid is --as well, despite its raw artistic value, since it's really hard to tell what antics can be taken seriously. If I had to narrow it down, I would say that it is an indie horror/science fiction film that somehow fits the same number of twists and random plot threads that all eleven seasons of X-Files (minus the movies-- that would just be crazy) into less then 2 hours.
Dropping evil is a lot of things but it is never boring. The whole thing feels like a friend's retelling of his favorite comic book while he is in the middle of a good shroom trip. It's weird as fuck and my kind of random. I spend the whole flick putting parts together and trying to make sense of shit despite knowing it's all silly anyway. It's great. With its budget and cast, it could very easily, have gone for the quick cash and pumped out another fun, but otherwise overdone slasher. Instead, it takes the high road, throws in some LSD, theological violence and whatever else it had laying around to make something unconventional. If you don't even need your horror comedies to hold your hand and sometimes contemplate ways to escape your current reality, Dropping Evil can be a pretty engaging ride. At the same time, it's probably not going to be to everyone’s drug of choice. Everyone, however, should be wary of taking hallucinogens in the wild, in my opinion. Most importantly, narcotics of any kind, should only be given to consenting, aware adults and never to overly religious people. I guess it would be okay if you had some kind of prearranged deal or pact regarding surprise dosing. Really, if you have something like that going on with an intensely Christian person, I’m kind of afraid--but mostly jealous. That sounds like a fascinating way to do drugs and I have to assume you have made some colorful life choices leading up to that arrangement.
1h 22min | 2012
 Director: Adam Protextor
Writer: Louis Doerge


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