Saturday, November 20, 2021

Little Evil

Movie Name:
Little Evil
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Eli Craig
Starring: Adam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, Owen Atlas, Bridget Everett, Clancy Brown, Kyle Bornheimer, Donald Faison, Schuyler White, Carla Gallo, Sally Field, Rick Applegate
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
Watch it on Netflix

Synopsis and Review:
After making a name for himself with the horror comedy "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil", which has become something of a cult film, writer/director Eli Craig tackled some TV projects, until he eventually returned to the feature world, with this project he also wrote, "Little Evil". The film follows the story of Gary Bloom, who has recently married Samantha, the woman of his dreams, who has a son from a previous relationship. As Gary tries to bond with Lucas, all his efforts are unsuccessful since the child provides no response and clearly doesn't warm up to him. He also starts getting notices from different sources, his wedding videographer, the school principal, that there is indeed something wrong with the child, or that the child herself causes some strange occurrences. When Samantha confesses that Lucas was conceived as part of a strange ritual, during the time she was part of a cult, Gary quickly assumes there's something supernatural and evil with the child. As he tries to uncover more about the father of the child, and Lucas' true nature, things quickly escalate, much to Gary's despair and fear.
"Little Evil" has a very interesting premise: what would happen if "Rosemary's Baby" had indeed grown up to be a feisty demonic little boy, and Rosemary was suddenly in the singles market, looking for a new partner, who was completely blindsided by the supernatural inventory of events about to descend upon him. While this in itself can make for an interesting comedy, writer/director Eli Craig has a difficult time finding the right tone for his film. Mostly because he wants to push the boundaries of what a "problem child" can be and do, while also crafting a family comedy that is somewhat palatable for all audiences. In the end, the film has more of a tone of a pilot episode for a somewhat bland TV comedy, more so than what a dark comedy can actually be. The film fails to capture what exactly is that ties Gary to Samantha, since essentially there isn't much of her to clearly understand it, aside from objectifying her for her obvious beauty. The characters in the film are very faintly defined, and while Adam Scott is indeed a terrific comedic actor, who has somehow perfected on par with Paul Rudd, the whole "handsome regular guy with the constant irony in his stance", even him can't carry a film that is simply too uneventful. The third chapter does introduce a vicious ripple to this bland narrative, with Sally Field and Clancy Brown's characters, but their screen time is very limited, and amounts to something that is quickly tossed aside. It's a film with a good premise, but one that needed to be take to a darker level. This hybrid concoction is unsatisfying. The cinematography from Matthew Clark is solid as is the score from Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts and Marcus Trumpp. While not a dreadful film, it is ultimately a forgettable one.