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See No Evil   

May 29, 2006

by Matt Hocking    
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


See No Evil

Assorted Others

Directed by:
Gregory Dark

To be honest with you, I wasn’t even really interested in seeing this film until a few weeks ago. As much as I love me some Kane, I’m not a big fan of these low budget gore movies, and I’ll say right off the bat that See No Evil did nothing to change my impressions, but it didn’t really hurt them either.

Firstly, the good news: See No Evil is gory. Not in such a way that there’s a lot of blood (there’s surprisingly little until one scene midway through the movie), but there is a lot of blood implied. Most of the gore comes from the eyeball ripping that gives the movie its title, and they make good use out of fairly convincing prosthetics. For the violence enthusiasts, the movie certainly delivers. I’ll give credit to the actors too, the material that they have to work with is often very, very bad, but the actors themselves seem to be having a lot of fun with the script, and at least a few of them really give the movie some much needed energy. Kane himself does an ok job. There’s not really much to do, and in fact, you really don’t see him “acting” much until pretty deep into the movie, at which point he’s just “Glenn Jacobs as Kane” anyway. Nobody will confuse him with Rock or anything, but he certainly does look the part.

Now for the bad: In an attempt to hold audience attention, the movie comes out swinging, one of its nastiest scenes is in the opening ten minutes, however, from there it’s kind of a freefall that doesn’t pick back up again for another hour. The story itself (put together by erstwhile Smackdown writer Dan Madigan) finds a police office who was brutally attacked at a crime scene leading a group of young attractive juvenile delinquents on a field trip to help clean up a burned out hotel/homeless shelter with the promise of a reduced sentence and milk and cookies. As you might imagine, things degrade pretty quickly from there as the script quickly leans back on making everyone into caricatures spouting off bits and pieces of dialog until Kane can kill them.

I’m well aware that that’s just standard horror movie cliché (and they do deliver on a handfull of pretty neat death sequences), but Evil just feels so derivative that you kind of wish they would have spent a little more time making sure they were doing something new with the characters anyway. As it is, the film is rife with little bits and pieces of Friday the Thirteenth, Saw, and a handful of other popular genre films (including The Ring, of all things), kind of all smashed together into one marginally cohesive, but not very interesting unit.

Part of the fault of the movie’s failure to deliver the thrills surely lies with director Gregory Dark (he of Hootermania, fame), who is just too ambitious for his first time in a feature film directors chair. He relies a little too much on quick cuts and odd camera angles that don’t really let the audience settle on a scene. There’s no spookiness, no “horror” really, and with the Sawesque color tinting, the direction feels more suited to a creepy music video than it does a horror film. Kane’s appearances are never surprising (he’s always announced well ahead of time) and never come from a really exciting angle. There’s one scene in particular, during which two of the kids are canoodling near what turns out to be a two way mirror. Rather than set the scene and just let Kane come crashing in, the couple spend about three minutes talking about the fact that they know somebody is behind the mirror, and THEN Kane comes through. It’s just a strange choice. And just as a manner of nitpicking, these kind of tween slasher films can usually rely on a little bit of nudity to get a cheap thrill or two, and you’d think with a former porn director at the helm they’d utilize that, but…nope. There’s a lingering shot of a naked ass, but past that, nothing. I’m not quibbling with the decision or anything, I just found it a little strange, all things considered.

It’s moments like that that really stop the movie from becoming anything other than a decent-if-wooden slasher flick, but the backstory that gets inexplicably tacked on after a little while is just horrible. After a certain amount of the violence, the movie begins cutting randomly to “flashbacks” of Kane’s tortured childhood, partially in order to provide an impetus for the movie’s “out of left field but predictable” ending, but partially to show the audience that Kane was more a victim of circumstance than a cold blooded killer. This turning of the Jacob Goodnight character into sort-of a modern day Jason Voorhees (ok, they pretty much ripped off most of that character) just adds a confusing level of moralization to the plot which never even gets resolved and just kind of sits there throughout. It’s kind of a time honored plot point (hell, it’s the impetus for 11 Friday movies), but somehow Evil manages to do it worse than any of the other variations on that tale. I get the feeling that with a better writer/director this script actually might have had a chance at becoming something more along the lines of a Halloween on the lower rung of the Horror ladder, but at least with a semi-interesting story to go along with it.

Now that I’ve gotten all that out of my system, let me wipe the slate entirely clean and say this: I had fun watching the movie. Really, when it comes right down to it, this is the kind of movie that you can analyze and nitpick forever, but in the end, if you let yourself revel in the stupidity of everything that’s happening, it’s really kind of a fun ride, with at least two real “Oh, damn!” moments that were truly entertaining. This is the exact kind of film that will be showing some 1 a.m. on the Sci Fi Channel six months from now, that I’d probably actually stick around to watch whether I’d seen it or not. For all the stupidity that is packed into the movie, when it’s allowed to just be plain visceral and weird, it really hits its marks.

So, while the movie is so bad I can’t, in good conscience, recommend it to anybody, it’s odd enough that I’d suggest that any fan of the genre probably owes it to themselves to see it at least once, probably as a rental, but still. If nothing else, it’s an amalgamation of a lot of popular trends within the horror industry, so it’s worth a look for that. Kind of a really poor man’s Saw. So there you go, generic, predictable and derivative, but still…kinda fun in its own very strange way.

Rating: ** If you see one movie this weekend, make it X-Men 3, if you see two, check out Da Vinci Code, if you see three, find a child and take them to see Over the Hedge, but if you see four, you can do a lot worse than See No Evil. At least Kane isn’t Lindsay Lohan, right?


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