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</script></div>{/googleAds}Christian Thriller. Ok, I realize that term screams "oxymoron;" kind of like "pure evil" or better yet, "vacation bible school." But, if you truly think about it, the supernatural warfare of good vs. evil has been scaring the hell out of us for years. The Exorcist. The Omen. Stigmata. The list goes on and on. So, why not embrace a self-proclaimed Christian/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller like Evil Behind You, which promotes a faith-driven message while simultaneously trying to make you scream bloody murder? Frankly, because its non-sensical dialogue, uninteresting characters, excessive sub-plots and sedative, rather than scare, effect causes it to sadly crash and burn, without enough holy water to douse the flames.

Since the inception of time, people have believed that a spiritual dimension exists beyond the physical realm. Then in 1952, Dr. Jeremiah Powell (David Lee) made a scientific breakthrough - a serum, which allowed him to penetrate that spiritual world. Suddenly, on the brink of fusing science fiction with reality, Dr. Powell inexplicably disappeared.

Fifty-four years later, two women, Lisa and Debra (Hilary Kennedy, Gwendolynn Murphy), awaken to find themselves locked in a dark, cramped observation room. Emerging from a drug-induced haze and unaware of how long they have been held captive, each rises to find Lisa?s boyfriend, David (Manuel Velasquez), Debra?s husband, Tony (D.C. Lee), and two unconscious strangers chained to operating tables. The unwilling participants of a scientific and brain-altering experiment, David and Tony realize that they are beginning to experience an eerie sensation that something, not of this dimension, is in the room with them; a demonic presence that can be neither seen nor felt by the women. Despite their chains, the men must now fight for their lives, against the evil breaking through.

Pretty scary, right? Hold on, because here is where we leave the dimension of religious consciousness and enter the realm of ridiculousness. Behind the observation window lies their captors, Middle Eastern terrorists (yes, terrorists), dressed in full camouflage, who have stolen Dr. Powell's research and injected their hostages with a rare strain of bacterial meningitis. The purpose? To find a cure for the brain-attacking virus, unleash the deadly disease on American soil, inject themselves with the cure and escape unscathed. To aid in their attack, the terrorists have abducted none other than Dr. Powell's son, (get this - also a scientist), to help monitor the hostages/guinea pigs and ultimately, find the cure.

Oh, did I mention the mind-blowing flashbacks? Not only are these characters fighting demonic possession, but are carrying major baggage that restricts them from moving forward in life and love. Lisa is harboring guilt over childhood molestation and her sister's resulting suicide; David left town three years ago after his best friend had an affair with David's fiancee and he fears he may still love his unfaithful ex; Dr. Powell, Jr. (Jim Garrity) bears the guilt of aiding the terrorists in an effort to save his own family; and Debra and Tony are on the verge of ending their May-December romance because Tony doesn't have a job and well, Debra is tired of supporting him. Just when my mouth began to open and I awaited a scream of sheer terror to emerge... no wait, it's a yawn.

Regardless of budget, a movie's success hinges upon our connection with the characters. And a good fright-fest forces its audience to not only care about what its characters have to endure, but express a deep-rooted desire for them (or at least some of them) to escape, alive. The dialogue in Evil Behind You, however, is so grossly absurd that it causes a total disconnection with both the characters and its jumbled storylines. What we expect in such a predicament is nothing short of pure, unadulterated chaos. Characters swollen by fear. Conversations plagued with irrational and interrupted outbursts of emotion. Desperate attempts to escape from their sick and twisted confinement. A collective attack against both the terrorists and the demons. Not here. No way.

Instead, in the midst of supposed terror, Jim Carroll's forced and tired script has its disinterested characters overly concerned with accusations of cheating, threats of divorce, jokes involving flatulence and of course, Tony's memorable Scooby-Doo impression after sneaking a peek down Lisa's blouse. Not to mention, we find our big-breasted heroines (religious or not, we couldn't except that part of the horror-movie formula, could we?) indulging in a cat-fight over how slutty Lisa dresses. Um, perhaps there is another time we can discuss these pressing issues?

Face it, a vestibule for evil can make for some seriously frightening cinema. But with an unauthentic script and stilted comedy infused into the mix, the result is a sinful eighty-nine minutes without a single scare. The orchestrated comedy fails to produce a laugh and the intentionally serious, unfortunately yields the most comedic results. Shamefully enough (forgive me, Father), it is the characters demise which becomes the film's most-valued entertainment. Besides, where else can you find Laurel and Hardy-esque Islamic terrorists with questionable accents and an unimaginative, "My God is better than your God" stance?

The truth is, this movie's sole saving grace is the almighty message. In a world often starved of faith, directors Jim Carroll and Jason Kerr attempt to inject a dose of forgiveness, acceptance of the Lord as one's Savior and the victory of good over evil through the power of God. Stripped of in-your-face blood and gore, adult language and nudity, Evil Behind You is a supernatural film that refreshingly promotes both the power of prayer and consequences of non-faith, but sadly fails to deliver any of the promised good old-fashioned terror. While it will undoubtedly triumph as a mechanism for teaching teenagers and church youth groups a message that will survive well beyond the length of this film, it will hardly scare the be-Jesus out of any horror movie fan seeking a new fright-fix. But then again, maybe that's the point.


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