Evil Takes Root (2020) Poster

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Interesting ideas, but ultimately not a really good movie...
paul_haakonsen18 September 2020
I stumbled upon "Evil Takes Root" by sheer random luck. And I must admit that I was immediately enthralled by the movie's cover/poster, and the title of the movie was definitely also helping to sell the movie for a veteran horror fan such as myself.

So I sat down to watch this 2020 movie from writers Chris W. Freeman and Aaron Mack, but I have to say that when the movie ended I wasn't particularly impressed, nor were I overly entertained. Sure, "Evil Takes Root" is watchable, but the storyline is just a tad too messy and incoherent for my liking, and that took away a great deal of the enjoyment of the movie.

There were some genuinely interesting aspects to the movie though, such as the spreading of the roots as the evil found foothold, and also some of the creature concepts were interesting.

However, for a horror movie, then "Evil Takes Root" just didn't really cut it. Perhaps if you are fresh off the boat and unfamiliar with horror movies, then you will find this to be a scary movie. But for a seasoned veteran, then "Evil Takes Root" was a mere walk in the park.

The acting in the movie was good, although the actors and actresses were stunted by the limitations of a rather messy and semi-boring storyline. It was a shame, because it felt like the actors and actresses were being held back from giving it all they had.

If you enjoy a good horror movie, then there are many better choices readily available in the horror genre. "Evil Takes Root" came and went without leaving a lasting impression on me, and I doubt that I will ever find myself sitting down to watch it a second time.

My rating of "Evil Takes Root" becomes a less than mediocre four out of ten stars.
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Not too bad at all! I liked it
robnero16 September 2020
It's surprise me being both a bit scary and had rather decent horror effects. The acting for the most part was well done. It was decently directed and it had a good pace. The story, the mythos of the batibat, was quite interesting. I appreciated the efforts! These movie can go really really bad. This isn't one of them.
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Trust me... don't waste your time.
clintchappell7016 September 2020
Nicholas Gonzales is way better than this. Why he signed on for this cheesey garbage is the biggest mystery here. I was generous in giving it 3 stars.
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What a dumb movie.
neuroticpeacecorpse17 September 2020
Better watch something good for the 2nd or 3th time. Waste of time, waste of money.
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Father Olawale Kickin Demon Ass
milligancharm6 October 2020
Ok this movie is way better than I thought it would be. It has a lot of surprises in it that I just thought made for a really great story and kept me interested in these characters. Lots of subtext about our brokenness and the possibility of redemption and grace. I'm always a sucker for those kinds of films and this handles it brilliantly. Keep a lookout for Father Olawale. He has all the best lines, and when he finally comes in to kick the hell out of the demon, my buddy and I were cheering because he is not messing around and is ready to bust some demon heads. I want to see him come back for a sequel.
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That name
Campbell300017 October 2020
Everyone's doing the batibat! I remember that from Sesame Street. The Count... I'm not sure if that's where the title comes from, but... Okay
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batibat is a pleasant surprise...
ops-5253515 September 2020
And scary horror it is in vast portions, in a break neck speed that could easily have been converted into at least a 6 part television series if that where the case, but there are a few drawbacks, especially the sound quality are bassy and buzzing here and there, and the ever so important final section in every horror movie has questionary decisions. but for a jumpy novise in front of the screen she will most probably fly above the seat at least a dusin times from jolt scares. there are always some flaws that makes every squemish horror lover complain and leave it with a bad vote, but honestly, i cant see why it should be ...

let me continue my bragging, because this was a surprise movie, both technically with very nice editing and sound effects, production where low budget has been used cleverly and at maxthe visual effects, score and makeup, and the casting crew has managed to find a great mix of actors, that is not famous, and some of the efforts done are over the edge impressing. ive mentioned the full content and racing speed of action that does the plot within 90 minutes, being a bit grim i could say its maybe too much of it.

but a new kind of devilomamania have been introduced to me, and probably its new to you too, i think this is a solid horror movie without gruesome killings and sparse on the wrung out flesh and bblood, a well made film that gives you the thrill, story and shockjolts that youll feel in your split entz. evil is the root to everything and besides from that a recommend from the grumpy old man
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Lame Syfy infused Lifetime movie.
jmbovan-47-16017315 November 2020
Not scary nor well plotted. Acting is mediocre and plotting is basic, in a boring way. Tired interpersonal conflicts of marriage, infidelity, and faith. Characters are crudely one dimensional. Weak film trying to cash in one trend of spooky movies, possession films, and good versus evil studies. And it does it poorly. Nothing here to rent. If you like these types of films, watch if for free only.
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Better title would be: root of all evil
Stanlee10727 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This is an ok film. The premise has been done many times before: a mother is killed by an unseen entity whilst being on the phone to the family & the family have to live on without her. As you can imagine that the grief from this tragedy had put a strain on the father- daughter relationship. However, the daughter's behaviour changes but is it because of the teenage hormones or is there a more malevolent force/reason at play here?

Some of the shoots look out of focus whereas most seems fine & the strained father and daughter is believable enough.. Spoiler talk: it has alot of the cliché/predictable horror scenes that are supposed to keep the viewer interested such the possessed naked witch craft scenes & the all-divine incorruptible priest that is proven wrong and the stoic understudy that breaks the rule to help the family. Plus the theme that science is superceded by paranormal explanations. It's is not the worst film I have seen this year nor is it being among the best ones either.
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Soooooooooooo boring
dieharddave4414 February 2021
I left the room while it was playing to do dishes, didnt even bother to pause it. Stopped it a half hour before the end. Couldn't care less about anyone or anything. Hard pass.
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No midwestern town is this inbred with rage issues.
wingthwong26 January 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Batibat. Piqued my interest. Based off of Filipino folklore. Yet very loosely based only that it uses nightmare like instances and trees and wooden houses. What started off as a good concept and possibly with the right backing turned out a good movie, turned out to be a half cocked plan. This movie basically portrays every small midwestern town as being a one biker bar, inbred catholic school, anger filled rage, witchcraft believing burg. And then, here comes a paranormal priest, all the way from California, to save the day. First, I have a hard time believing a surgeon, in this day and age, does home visits, has rage issues, hangs out at a local honlytonk biker bar, drives around in a Dually 4x4 Ram (male overcompensation), and acts more like a boxer (which the actor supposedly was at one time) than a doctor. The bar patrons just beat a priest because the priest talked to the doctor, like the bar patrons have some close tie to this doctor. Then, the mythology of this demon is not tied to the phony catholic religion. Just because the Spanish "catholicized" the Philippines, this mythology has no basis in catholicism, and they just don't relate. Also, the Batibat is traced to the tree that was cut down and put into a specific domicile. It then chokes the inhabitants in their sleep. And then let's throw in an Amish style community that the doctor helps out as if he is some Mr. Rogers. While the writers embellished a little, the story could have worked, but this mess crossed into druid style witchcraft, Amish community, catholic school with segregated male and female classes and depressed school girl Carrie like rage, an unbelievable massocist paranormal fake priest who had trysts, a totally unbelievable surgeon that tried to do it all like doctors in the 1800s yet wanted to beat the mess out of people, and a local biker bar. The story was there, the script, settings, and actors playing the adults weren't. The only good acting was by the girls in the henge style druid ritual. The sleepwalking trance like murders don't even fit right in the story. It could have been a 10 star, but the mess that was created went down to a 5. I can't say it was a 1 because it had merit. This could have been a good teen girl horror romcom like the twilight series, but that's where it ends. Watch at your own risk.
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Does the entire town have rage issues?
raw3136017 January 2021
I'm not really sure why everyone in this town rages on strangers. Maybe they're all angry that they had to be in a movie this bad. Could this movie be any worse? I'm not really sure what this movie was even about. Oh yeah, batibat... Huh? Nuf said.
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Creepy and fast paced
deniseg-5827117 September 2020
The acting was persuasive and I loved the special effects!
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It was okay.
kjjames8129 November 2020
Saw this little number last night. Now I had never heard of this film and knew nothing about it, so I settled down and gave it a go. Firstly I knew it was a lower budget affair but that doesn't bother me if the film is good, I have seen my fair share of low budget horror films. Secondly the acting wasn't to bad in the while film so that was a nice surprise. The story itself was okay and it went at a quick pace, so you weren't bogged down by the story. The effects for the most part were good. I didn't think much if the ending but I knew I wouldn't watch it again, so that was okay. One of the best parts was Stevie Lynn Jones in a wet vest but maybe that was just me. Not a great film but not bad. Worth a watch if you have nothing better to see.
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DVD Commintary Helps
kittensplay428 September 2020
Evil takes Root is based upon Philippino folklore and at first I did not understand what was going on. The DVD commintary help to clearify the confusion of Batibat and the production quality right up. As stated in the DVD commintary by several of the producers they had many challenges to overcome with getting this film into the public eye. They struggled with major financial setbacks, lost or not recorded scenes and audio, and having to find and reshoot years later at the original locations or similar locations. The production was able to coble together something that resembles what they had envision besides the losses both due to unforeseen circumstances and oversights of their own. Watch the film and then watch it again with the commintary it is infinatly better then just watching the film on its own.
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Just weak
solidabs23 January 2021
This was just weak. Something a College dork would make. Now I gave it 2 stars for Stevie Lynn's beautiful wet t shirted Rhodesian Ridgeback. I would've gave this a 3 or 4 if the director would've unleashed Stevies baby feeders.
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Interesting Concepts and Entity with Many Tired Troupes
david_rudy_lee13 November 2020
This is another movie that I heard about thanks to the Nightmares Film Festival. This was the Ohio Feature as this was filmed here in Columbus, Ohio. Aside from that, I read part of the synopsis as I was getting this synced up to play. That is synopsis was a paranormal investigator Felix Fojas (Nicholas Gonzalez) arrives in a sleepy Midwest town to investigate the mysterious loss of his old lover, Amanda (Constance Brenneman), and reconcile sins of the past.

We actually start this with seeing a fire in the woods before taking us to Mandy while she's in her car. She calls Felix and we see he doesn't answer. He is religious and actually punishing himself in the same vein of what Thomas More would. She arrives home and thinks she hears her daughter in her room. When she goes up, her daughter of Sarah (Stevie Lynn Jones) calls and she realizes there's something else in there. She dials 911, the door opens and she's pulled in.

Dr. Thane Noles (Sean Carrigan) arrives home to see the police there. He is taken to see what happened to his wife. They try to keep his daughter away, but also sees her mother dead in the nearby woods. We get to see vines going back into a circle below her. No one seems to see it though.

What happened to Mandy draws the attention of Felix. We get to learn that he was having an affair with her in the past and Thane isn't happy to see him. The two of them get into it and it is thanks to Sarah being there that he stops before anything really happens.

Felix feels there could be something supernatural and that is why he came to this small town in Ohio. We get to see that Christina (Reagan Belhorn), a deaf high school student, is playing with forces beyond her control. She is friends with Sarah to which they're bonding over the grief of both losing their mothers. Christina is the daughter of the principal of the Catholic school and her dad is Father Weller (Thomas Downey). He tries to connect with her, but she is pushing him away.

Felix seeks out the local sheriff of Roy Garland (John Churchill). At first, he really just wants to ask a few questions, but when weird things start to happen, the two try to figure out what is the cause to it. Is this supernatural or are we seeing two teens acting out? There does seem to be forces that shouldn't be messed with regardless.

That's where I want to leave my recap for this movie as I feel that gets you up to speed with what we're working with here. The first thing that struck me was the opening credits. It seems that Felix Fojas was a real person who documented things that he thought were really paranormal. Now personally, I don't believe these things really happened or that these supernatural elements exist, but wanted to at least establish that was there.

The next thing that I should bring up here is that the entity is one that I never heard of before. It is called a Batibat which doing some quick research is a real thing. It is from the Philippines, where it appears the Ilocano and Tagalog folklore having it being a vengeful demon. I will give credit here is that I like the story of how it ends up in Ohio and I'm always a fan of filmmakers taking demons that we don't really see to do something a bit different. Without going into spoilers here, I love that the title of the movie is a plan on words as this demon works with roots, vines and just plants in general.

What I also like here is that we're playing with religion and the corruption of youth. Sarah and I believe Christina is going to a Catholic high school. Father Weller is the father of the latter. Christina is doing rituals that are calling upon forces that are going against this belief system, but we see that she really doesn't follow this religion. It is being forced upon her. Felix is a Catholic priest, but he does some things that fall outside the lines there. We see him being up to break laws which draw Father Olawale (Adetokumboh M'Cormack) to scold him. Father Weller was also married, so he had to blur the lines of his religion.

I got away from the other point I wanted to make which is the corruption of youth. Christina as I said is doing these rituals. She really wants her hearing back as she is deaf, so she's willing to perform this ritual to get that back. Sarah isn't really involved in this, but she is the focus of the haunting. It is causing this young woman to become more sexualized. There is way of looking at her just acting as her mother passed away. This is something that commonly happens so I liked playing with this idea. Thane is a bit over his head, much like Father Weller.

Since I've been delving into them, I should shift over to the acting. I thought that Gonzalez had a good look about him as Felix. It is cool to play with a priest who is doing some things outside of what we normally do for a character like this. He is also an attractive male which adds a dimension. Carrigan is also good as this angry father trying to do what he can to protect his daughter, but also trying to raise her correctly. Jones is quite attractive. I like what she does with the duality of the normal version and the one that is being possessed. Churchill is good along with M'Cormack. Belhorn was also solid with the rest of the cast rounding this out for what was needed.

The last thing that I really should cover would be the effects. For the most part, I would say that we did have some good practical effects. If I did have an issue here, it is with some of the CGI. To make the tentacles look real, that is something that can be difficult to do. There was some times where it didn't hold up for me if I'm honest. I do like the look of the demon. The glowing red eyes we see a few times were good. Aside from that, the cinematography was good.

So now with that said, this is a movie that I wasn't sure what I was getting coming in, but I really like the story. It is interesting that this is set in Ohio with a demon I've never heard of before this. I think that the acting really works for what they needed to bring these characters to life. There are something good concepts and ideas being played with on top of that with who we are following. Not all of the effects worked for me, but overall, they were fine. The soundtrack didn't necessarily stand out to me. What I did enjoy was the voice they used for this entity. With that out of the way, I'd still say that this was an above average movie for me.
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Was this really made in 2020?
iantapley4 November 2020
Either I'm having de ja vu or this is a remake or at least a story that has been before. I knew everything before it happened, even the character's names. Am I insane or was this actually released a few years ago under another name?
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