If this film was beyond evil, that would have made it so much better but as it is, Beyond Evil which was released in 1980 was a little light on the horror. There was a little here and there but it was nothing that could be called scary or frightening in the slightest, merely suspenseful and even then, not as much as it could have been.
Director Herb Freed had all the ingredients he needed to make a solid film in the very able John Saxon who always played a better villain, Lynda Day George as the damsel in distress and some decent backup in Michael Dante, Janice Lynde and Mario Milano. The story was fairly run-of-the-mill but with a little tweaking it could have been given a little punch to liven things up and create some real tension as what was present was not as effective as it could have been, the pacing of the film more akin to a Lifetime drama or late night television movie. As for that aforementioned horror, most of it comes from George’s character who is slowly being possessed by the spirit of a long-dead woman named Alma who had a fascination with the occult. Having been killed many years past over some misplaced love, Alma has haunted the island and the house that George and Saxon have just moved into. So it is that Alma wants to live again and the only way to do that is to claim a new body which George just so happens to supply unwittingly. As this takes place, Barbara, whom George plays, causes a number of accidents to take place as Alma takes her over, with the outcome sometimes being death. None of it was bad per se, it simply played out more as a drama than anything else – the horror never being built up in any sort of meaningful way.
In the end, the picture culminates in a scene where Alma manifests and a little bit of a tiff breaks out between the main characters and it was perhaps, the best scene of the entire affair as finally, something of note was finally happening. Anything that was lacking was simply due to the script which was ultimately lacking and no fault of Freed or the players within. If things had lined up a little better, this movie might have been a far more interesting than it was. To be fair, there was nothing overly bad about any of it but there is also nothing that makes one want to run out and see it either.
2.5 out of 5