Wickedly Evil - New Release Review
Director: Garry Walsh
Starring: Joseph McGucken, James Farrelly, Lousie Burke, Owen Roe, Cat L. Walsh
Written by: Bryan Walsh, Garry Walsh
Produced by: Dean Weymes
Cinematography by: Matthias Grunsky
Original Score by: Damien McEvoy
A group of criminals lay low in the remote Irish countryside after pulling off an audacious robbery.
If you rewatch Quentin Tarantino's 1992 debut 'Reservoir Dogs' you'll notice that it's laced with a ton of humour. It's not a comedy obviously, in fact it's a deeply serious heist-gone-wrong thriller that features an iconic torture scene and incredible performances from all the cast, but it's got some cracking one liners and hilarious moments. Now imagine it was shot in rural Ireland and replace the cool as fuck gangster types in black suits with a couple of clumsy Dubliners wearing matching green tracksuits and...frog masks? This is 'Wickedly Evil'
"Stop doing coke! Seriously!"
In a way this line sums up the entire situation that Frankie and Dancer are dealing with in the aftermath of their botched heist. Frankie is level headed and tries to find the correct solutions while Dancer is a hot head fuelled by paranoia. Gaz sleeps in the next room, healing from a gun wound to his right leg and Momo, the one who apparently has all of the cash they've stolen, hasn't even appeared at the safe house yet. It's not looking well at all.
'Wickedly Evil' opens up with Gaz (Darryl Carter) and Dancer (James Farrelly), fully decked out in their frog gear, having an argument about the pros and cons of freezing bread and the fact that Dancer was supposed to get Ninja Turtles masks instead of frog masks. This is all going on whilst police sirens wail in the background. The two criminals eventually make it to their car but not before they are seen by a young woman who pulls a gun on them and shoots Gaz. Dancer knocks her out and takes her hostage and later when he meets Frankie (Joseph McGucken) at the safe house in the countryside, we find out that she just happens to be the little sister of one of Dublin's most feared gangsters. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and fearing that they've been set up, the three just wait for instructions from their big boss "The Chief" on what to do next.
A hostage. A gun shot victim. And Dancer's done more cocaine than Maradona at the bleedin' World Cup. And on top of all that, the next door neighbour, a lovely girl called Sadie (Cat L. Walsh) has already popped in twice and now the boys suspect she might be on to them.
The comparison to 'Reservoir Dogs' isn't incidental. It genuinely feels like writers Bryan and Garry Walsh (who also directs) sat down and said "Right. What if Reservoir Dogs happened in the Dublin countryside". It's shot and produced like a straight drama/thriller but the script is bursting with hilarious one liners, mostly from Dancer, and as the gang become increasingly paranoid and panic stricken their situation becomes increasingly funny, but the humour is subtle enough and downplayed that it never takes over.
As the film progresses and the night gets darker, a supernatural element enters the fray and we realise that something more sinister might be happening. Frankie and Dancer's night is about to get even weirder.
The production values aren't on par with 'Reservoir Dogs' and it doesn't share the sleek, cool factors that made that movie so memorable and iconic, but in all honestly they don't need to be. Nothing jumps out visually but the low budget didn't take me out of it at all and if anything it made the film more engaging because it felt authentic. There was a feeling that we were sorta in that house with these criminals living out this disaster as they were living it out too. The finale is a bit of a mess compared to the rest of the film. I think it's guilty of trying to get to the end too quickly and because of this some of the editing during these scenes isn't very good and leaves the big revelation feeling flat.
If you're Irish or just familiar with Irish people, you'll probably love this because you can recognise all the little nuances in the conversations between Frankie and Dancer. If you're not familiar with the language and dialect then you might struggle to find all the humour and therefore the film might not entirely land with you. It's hard not to like Frankie and Dancer even when they're both being bleedin' eejits and while the film has some blatantly obvious flaws, at just under 90 minutes it's still harmless entertainment.
- Gavin Logan
'Wickedly Evil' is available on UK Digital from November 13th from 101 Films