Evil in Clear River (1988)
Pollution in the River
When "Evil in Clear River" starts it tells us that this is a fictionalized account of real events and that should make it shocking but for some reason it isn't. That has nothing to do with the movie but because sadly in this day and age there are still those who preach their own twisted views on history, religion and pretty much anything. As such I have to say that "Evil in Clear River" is a solid look at a situation where someone having gained the confidence of a community uses that trust to pervert innocent minds and turn people against anyone who questions them.
In the Town of Clear River where everyone turns out to watch the school Hockey team play Pete Suvak (Randy Quaid) is not just Mayor but a hugely popular teacher. But mother Kate McKinnon (Lindsay Wagner) becomes concerned when her son Mark (Thomas Wilson Brown) starts spouting anti-Jewish comments which Suvak has taught in class. As she looks into things she discovers that Suvak has been teaching his own version of history in class and feeding young minds with the idea that Jews are behind all the evil in this world. Refusing to let her son be brainwashed by this propaganda Kate makes a stand and in doing so complains to the School board who despite warning Suvak are forced to take action and fire him when he continues to twist history. It leads to many problems not only with Mark resenting his mum for being behind Suvak's dismissal but also with the town's folk where Suvak is still a popular mayor.
So as I mentioned "Evil in Clear River" is a look at this scenario partly about a man who perverts innocent minds with his twisted version of history but more about the power of this man and the influence he has. As such what we really watch is how Kate and her husband end up being isolated because of the stand she makes and the influence which Suvak has to turn others against them. That includes their own son Mark who hates his mother when Suvak is fired from school. That is really about it is but it is effective and a little unsettling as we watch all this trouble unfold for Kate as people turn against her and some show their true sexist colours.
At the centre of this are really two performances starting with Lindsay Wagner who is solid as Kate but not overly memorable. That maybe down to her character being quite an ordinary woman but it doesn't jump from the screen. On the other hand Randy Quaid certainly does spring from the screen as someone who is evil and clever in the way he not only manages to twist things but also manipulate things.
What this all boils down to is that "Evil in Clear River" tells an important story but it is only an averagely solid movie which looks at what happens when one person stands up to be counted and faces the back lash of a whole community.
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