Evil (Ondskan)

Critics Consensus

Evil's attempts to unpack the causes and effects of violence aren't always successful, but the well-acted end result still has an unsettling impact.



Total Count: 38


Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,125
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Movie Info

Erik is a 16-year-old boy whose life has been plagued by violence. Tormented by his abusive stepfather, he has hit back in the only way he knows -- by giving a good thrashing to anyone in his way. When he is expelled from public school, Erik is told he has one last chance to make something of himself and is sent to a prestigious private school. This time, he is determined not to mess up. Initially, Erik is overjoyed to escape his unhappy home, but he soon discovers he has merely substituted one prison for another. The school is run by a rigorous and unjust code, enforced by senior students rather than the faculty. In fact, the teachers prefer to ignore what goes on among the students, including beatings and a wide variety of humiliating rites. Soon, Erik is faced with a dangerous choice: confront his oppressors and risk expulsion, ignore them and suffer humiliation, or let his friends suffer for him.

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Critic Reviews for Evil (Ondskan)

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (15)

  • Extremely watchable, even if it never goes as deep as it should.

    May 5, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Hafström's dramatic sense is ... pedestrian and snail's-pace obvious.

    Apr 1, 2006 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Movies like Evil entertain us by serving sweet revenge on a platter, and director Mikael Håfström manipulates emotions more intelligently than most.

    Mar 31, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Wilson, who plays Erik, had never been in a film before Evil -- which was nominated for a best foreign-language Oscar in 2004 -- and there's no reason that he can't make many more of them.

    Mar 31, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A commentary on the troubling gray area between acceptable and unacceptable forms of violence, especially where the molding of boys into 'real men' is concerned.

    Mar 30, 2006
  • The way it plays out, Evil feeds the audience's bloodlust as much as it decries the worst acts of its characters.

    Mar 23, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for Evil (Ondskan)

  • May 03, 2011
    Great movie. Lundstrom is amazing as Eriks nerdy friend Pierre. The cinematography and musical score are both really good. One of my favorite Swedish movies.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    This movie really lived up to it's name. These kids were creepy, evil, horrible human beings. I was at the edge of my seat for most of the movie. Thank god I don't know any kids like these kids.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2010
    Gripping film of a teenage boy who's life has been dominated with violence from the world around him, and within his own family. The violence which erupts in the schools shows how mean kids can be, but raises the question of why they are mean in the first place. The main character Erik is expelled from school for lashing out at anyone who he feels to be in his way, and is sent to a prestigious private school where the students may just have more control than the teachers, and run with a rigorous, unjust code that makes sense only to those who run with it. Erik(Andreas Wilson) is faced with the choice of facing up to the madness at school for himself and his friends, or to fall back into the "home" life he fled from.
    Eric S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 21, 2009
    How far can a person be pushed before he pushes back? Although this type of story has been done in many ways, I enjoyed this telling of the story. Having been subjected to numerous beatings growing up, the main character deals with his own problems the same way. With his last chance at making something of his life, we watch his struggles to deal with private school bullying without resorting to the tactics that have previously been his downfall. The actor does a wonderful job at portraying this struggle. Unfortunately, the lesson the film gives us is that peace is not always the answer; violence is sometimes a necessary evil. The director does a wonderful job at making you feel part of the story and the emotions that go along with it.
    nefnie l Super Reviewer

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