The best kinds of crappy movies are movies that know they are crappy and, thus, elevate their quality above truly crappy. President Evil is one of those so-bad-it’s-good crappy movies.
Made in the wake of the optimism of the Mueller investigation (but, sadly, before its arguably uneventful conclusion), President Evil is cheaply made and full of passable-to-terrible ham acting (that’s often deliberate). Its framework is as a spoof of the original Hallowe’en, right down to the colours of the opening credits and the mildly askew riff on John Carpenter‘s classic theme.
Even the scene structure is similar: we open via the POV of a young boy, who eventually kills his promiscuous mother, is locked up in a psychiatric institution, and escapes as an adult. But, instead of a white mask, this killer wears a Trump face mask and carries an American-flag-printed knife.
Somehow, it all works as a semi-parody, especially the humour – which come mostly via cramming as many political spoofs as they can into any one scene, and taking potshots at their own production values (a lascivious school chaplain who bears a certain resemblance to a high-profile lawyer and former mayor is played by an actor with a very visible bald cap). And in these, the attention to detail is wonderful, whether it’s a wary doctor surnamed ‘Clinton’, or a school whiteboard including the word ‘covfefe’. Imagine this movie instead as a decently produced YouTube skit and enjoy the endless riffing.
The plot’s scares are so on-the-nose it’s clear they didn’t make this to preach to the converted – a young Mexican boy has developed a crippling fear of the word ‘Republican’ – and the film’s political leanings are definitely clear. The group of victims include said Mexican boy, a Mexican teen, a transgender soldier with military honours, and a Muslim teenager (I think, from Iran). These minorities have been hate targets since 2016, and the film doesn’t shy away from comically hammering those points home. It’s less social commentary than social screaming, but that’s part of this movie’s low-rent charm.
It’s a fun, fast, silly, self-aware parody, and clearly the crew had fun making this. I’d love to see what they could do with a bigger budget, because the laughs – and the heart – are there. If nothing else, see it for what could be the world’s first Muslim Final Girl – who, in line with her demographic’s oft-misunderstood religious beliefs, wields a crucifix for protection.