Emma (Margherita Remotti), a right genius on the subject of witches and female suppression, arrives from America in Italy to investigate the story of a herbalist named Shanda (Marcella Braga) who got herself a case of the murders when she tried to stop a plague back in Ye Olden Times… that’s fuckin’ gratitude for your ass, eh boils n’ ghouls?
So Emma, along with local guide Giulia (Claudia Marasca), and journalist Daniel (Diego Runco) begin the trek to Shanda’s ol’ stompin’ grounds… well they try anyway, as Emma keeps dreaming they are murdered and then the day begins again like a ghoulish Groundhog Day scenario!
Will Emma be able to end her lunatic loop ans solve the ancient mystery or will she just continue to die a bit each day… you know, like we all do as we go about our normal daily routines…
So what’s positive in the land of Evil River? Well, for one, the story (provided here by Nicola Pizzi) of someone trapped in an endless routine of death and supernatural violence is solid anyway you slice it. And, since I mentioned slicing, the gore effects in this fright flick are beautiful, and expertly realized via practical effects wizardry… and they are full of the precious red sauce all of us horror hounds crave!
Additionally, director Marco Rosson provides a great deal of style to the whole arcane affair, especially in the incredibly fun fever-dream sequences that feature masked and cloaked figures up to all manner of brutal deviltry.
As for negatives, the actors here are not native English speakers, and their line delivery can be rather stilted at times. To me it added to the surreal dreamscape of the piece, but others may not warm to the off-kilter rhythm of the dialog.
Along with the feature presentation, there are a few eerie extras on this demonic DVD release from Wild Eye Releasing which include: a behind-the-scenes featurette, a few deleted scenes, a music video, and a handful of trailers for other Wild Eye releases.
To sum it up; Evil River is a great dive into the horror biz with a reality bending story, groovy gore, and witchy goings-on galore, and comes recommended to fans of the ghoulish Golden Age of Eurocinema!