Nexus of Evil starts in 1975 when a young girl sitting in a field of flowers is suddenly attacked and killed by an unseen entity. Flash forward thirty years, 2005. Single parent, Joel (Armando Garcia), reunites with his former Camp Knotty Pine friends to finish their vacation fifteen years after it was cut short. I’m going to stop right there and address the first problem with the movie. The prologue, the first kill by what is later revealed to be a demonic wolf creature, is set thirty years before the rest of the movie. So, when the main characters reference the week they spent here in 1990, the time discrepancy confuses the audience.
Wouldn’t it make more sense if the killing that opens the film is the inciting incident for the entire movie? Or, at the very least, open with a montage of deadly wolf attacks throughout the years? As it stands, opening with a kill that is neither referenced again, has no bearing on the plot proper, and does not impact the main characters at all starts this creature feature of sorts off on the wrong foot.
“…their vacation…was cut short…[by] a demonic wolf creature…”
While the teenaged campers, now adults, did not know it then, they discover their outing was waylaid because a girl was killed while at camp. Reopening the camp all these years later has reawakened this ancient evil. Now, with the help of Vincent (Douglas ‘Hurricane’ Hall), the campers, including Jenny (Zuzu Weingart), who pines for Joel, uncover the lore of the deadly creature. Is there a secret to surviving its attacks buried in these legends? Why is the wolf letting Jenny live?
Nexus of Evil is Brandon Smith’s feature-length writing and directing debut, from a story he created with Anabella Smith (I presume they’re related, but I do not know that for sure). Aside from the odd time gap, there are two more issues here. The first is that the acting is quite a mixed bag. Weingart is impressive as the sweet, caring Jenny, and she shares believable chemistry with Garcia. Hall, as the elderly man who knows more than he is letting on, provides gravitas and really sells the backstory of the demonic wolf.
Garcia is hit or miss. His chemistry with his on-screen daughter Kelsey, played by Dylynne Cosand, is inert at best. But, in the small, flirty conversations with Jenny, or the more relaxed vibe at the camp (before the killings), he is likable enough. The rest of the cast ranges from forgettable to bad, with Laura Trent as camper Heather, being incredibly annoying.
"…hints at a sequel, and quite frankly, issues and all, I kind of hope there is one."