History of Evil

History of Evil poster

Can a place be tainted by the actions of those who inhabited it before, a sickness seeping into the foundations and the walls, like damp turning to mould, infecting all those who follow them and breathe that same air, trapped in the patterns of a history of evil not of their making, struggling to fight off the shackles of the past but bound up in a horror not of their making, doomed to pay the price even as they reject the white hood of hatred?

After decades of corruption and civil war, the United States of America has fallen, rising in its place the North American Federation, a Christian extremist neo-fascist state where armed militia control outside borders and passage within, efficiently hunting down undesirables, dissidents and dissenters, a single gunshot favoured over courtroom proceedings and all done in the name of ever-loving Jesus.

History of Evil; the family arrive at the supposed "safe house."

Making her way through this nightmare is escaped prisoner Alegre, her crime publishing an underground manifesto suggesting a better way, reunited with her husband Ron and young daughter Daria, conducted to an abandoned house where they will stay for twenty-four hours until pickup can be arranged by the members of the Resistance, the reputation of the crumbling mansion intended to keep unwanted eyes away though not the buzz of a drone passing overhead, seeing all.

Set in the year 2045, too soon to be comfortable, History of Evil is written and directed by Bo Mirhosseni and stars Orange is the New Black’s Jackie Cruz as Alegre, strangely naïve considering her nominal role as figurehead of the Resistance, Strange New Worlds’ Paul Wesley as Ron, taking his frustration out on those closest to him and Renfield‘s Rhonda Johnson Dents as their guide Trudy, weary as she navigates them through to a place which offers no comfort or safety, where the only reason to stay is that the danger inside is more abstract than the patrols hunting outside.

History of Evil; Alegre (Jackie Cruz) becomes concerned by the changes in Ron (Paul Wesley).

The house haunted by the ghosts of the past, a white supremacist and his victims, the long shadow of the lynching tree out front shifting in the flickering light of a burning cross, the dormant gene of prejudice is easily activated in Ron, History of Evil swiftly becoming a well-performed and sometimes distressing but ultimately derivative retelling of The Amityville Horror and The Shining as a loving family man struggles to hold onto his identity as he is driven mad by his environment, condemned to repeat a past which is not his.

Limited by budget to playing in a corner of the all-too plausible dystopia which informs The Purge and Alex Garland’s forthcoming Civil War, what is depicted feels less interesting than what lies beyond the frame, the dread of History of Evil endemic and palpable but only truly effective when existing in a wider context of Alegre’s story, her call for solidarity in the stand against oppression commendable but falling short of the incendiary battle cry it might otherwise have been.

History of Evil will be available on Shudder from Friday 23rd February

History of Evil; Ron (Paul Wesley) finds himself trapped in a way of thinking that is not his own.



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