For about half the country, November 2016 was the start of their personal nightmare called the Trump administration. Many saw/see President Trump as a murderous monster and filmmaker Richard Lowry with co-writer Gregory P. Wolk have taken this idea to its logical conclusion and turned Trump into an actual monster in their horror/comedy President Evil.
In the early 80’s, a serial killer by the name of David was born to a gold-digging porn star, Scorchy McDaniels (Johanna Rae) and his unnamed real estate billionaire father. As he grew older, so did his hatred for his mother grow, culminating in David donning a Ronald Reagan mask wielding a large American Flag-laden chef’s knife. His mother and her lover would be David’s first victims. When caught, little David is institutionalized under the care of Dr. Lutin (Kyle Sing) from Russia. Now in the present, David (Ryan Quinn Adams) escapes his prison and heads to his childhood home of Libertybelle, U.S.A.
Meanwhile, life in Libertybelle is hard (for those who are not white), especially for our young heroine, Lana (Sitara Attaie) and her diverse group of friends. Her neighbor Pepe is troubled because his parents were captured by ICE agents and deported to Mexico. Fortunately, Pepe is able to stay with his sister, who has DACA status. But how long will that last? Her friend Gabriel (Vinn Sander) was recently discharged from military service because he is a trans-male, despite his silver star, purple heart, and a myriad of other honors. To commiserate, Lana invites her friends of color to watch the State of the Union address and celebrate Halloween. What?…How?…Well, in the act of sheer narcissism Trump moved the speech to Halloween.
“…goes on a killing spree, murdering everyone who is not a straight, white male.”
Cutting to the chase, on the night of the State of the Union Address (Halloween Night), David goes on a killing spree, murdering everyone who is not a straight, white male. It’s up to Lana to stop David’s racist, sexist, Islamophobic murder rampage.
So do I need to point out that everyone involved in President Evil is not a Trump supporter? They really don’t like the guy or anyone associated with his administration. The film is incredibly heavy-handed in its politics. Breaking things as simple as possible, Republicans bad, Democrats good. If you lean to the right, you’re not going to like this film.
Politics aside, is President Evil a good film? Lowry and Wolk’s film is advertised as a comedy/horror spoof. Its humor comes not from comic situations or witty dialogue, but from a laundry list of name dropping, over-the-top characters, and moments of progressive rage.
Let’s start with name-dropping. All of the film’s baddies are named after members of the Trump administration. You already got the Scorchy McDaniels and Dr. Lutin references. Others include Little Pepe bullied by a gang of white kids, two of which are named Sessions and Arpaio. There’s also the creepy pedophile priest, Father Guiliani (Korbin Miles), L. Ying Conway, and the list goes on. The only good guy is Sheriff Mueller (Jose Rosete). These references are liberally scattered throughout the entire film creating a liberal Easter, I mean Spring Egg hunt. Seriously, all this seems cute but rarely funny.
If I’m ever to get close to being political in this review, here it is. Ever since Trump’s 2016 election, political comedy has taken a nose dive. It’s almost as if we’ve stopped trying altogether making real attempts at humor staying away from relatable set-ups and brilliant punch lines. Fits of outrage (whether deserved or not) has replaced joke-telling and is rarely funny. “Fuck Trump” is not a joke. Kids, women, and people of color flipping the middle finger, while I’m sure heartfelt, cannot be called clever comedy.
“…put their film together pretty fast just missing the Cavanaugh outrage.”
We’ve covered the comedy, but what about the horror. The creepiest thing about David is his appearance. Dressed in a business suit with Trump red tie, wearing a Trump rubber mask (that’s wasn’t even painted orange – easy one guys), and an awful Trump toupee, David lays in wait as one-by-one his victims come to him to die. In the end, he chases Lana a la It Follows. And there are several false jump scares. #Sad.
President Evil is frankly not a good movie. Like many films that mix two genres, in this case, comedy and horror, you ultimately water down the two producing a mediocre final product. The horror elements are basic and uninspired, and the comedy is lazy and seen every night on Fallon, Kimmel, Corden, Myers, Conan, Oliver, Noah, Bee, and SNL.
On the upside, there are some pretty good Young Frankenstein references and one good Marx Brothers bit. Also, the references are pretty timely. Lowry and Wolk must have put their film together pretty fast just missing the Cavanaugh outrage. An admirable attempt to capitalize on Halloween and the Midterms. Kudos there. Ultimately, you’re going to watch President Evil as a way to “stick it” to your political enemies but provides little value after that. Maybe it will help release some rage during Halloween and the midterm election results.
President Evil (2018) Directed by Richard Lowry. Written by Richard Lowry, Gregory P. Wolk. Starring Ryan Quinn Adams, Sitara Attaie, Amber Boone, Naomi Ranck, Vinn Sander.
3 out of 10 stars