Little Evil - 2017
Little Evil is written and directed by Eli Craig, his first movie since the cult classic Tucker and Dale vs Evil. Here he tackles the horror-comedy genre once again, this time focusing on the demonic aspect of horror. This time around he got a cast of bigger names (no disrespect to Tyler Labine and Ala Tudyk). The cast is comprised of Adam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, Sally Field and Bridget Everett. The story centers around a new step-dad realizing his step-son might be the Antichrist.
Quick note before I get into the “meat” of the review: after I finished watching this movie I immediately started watching Tucker and Dale vs Evil (review coming next week), because it just made me realize how good it really was. There is something off about this movie and, yes, the defense can be it’s only a Netflix movie, but we deserve more. Movies like Okja, Win it All and I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore prove that Netflix movies can be well-rounded pieces of entertainment. Cool? Cool.
Eli Craig’s script has various humorous moments, but they are few and far between. For some chunks of this movie’s running time I found myself staring at the screen, waiting for the comedy to come in this comedy-horror movie. I would forgive this movie for lacking comedy if the horror elements were better executed, but it never got anywhere near feeling like a horror movie. The story structure doesn’t fully make sense, and a character has a drastic shift in personality and motivation that made me wonder if I missed a scene. I did, however, enjoy all the small tributes Craig payed to the horror classics that came before it.
This may come off sounding like a pet-peeve or me just nitpicking but the editing got on my nerves. Craig and editor Tia Nolan decided to try to mimic the abrupt editing style of Edgar Wright. Keyword in my previous statement is try. Wright has had years developing that editing style to a point that you can show a sequence out of context and you know it’s a Wright movie just from the style. It also felt completely out of place since they use it, I believe, three or four times in the movie out of nowhere, to the point that it just took me out of the movie. It’s not a good sign that I was already thinking of one movie, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, and by this editing choice I was thinking of another one - Shaun of the Dead.
Little Evil does benefit from the veteran comedic chops of Adam Scott who, at age 44, already has 109 acting credits tied to his name, my favorite being Parks and Recreation. He plays Gary, real estate agent that marries Evangeline Lilly’s character, who comes with an Antichrist son. The best parts of his performance come from him just reacting to the weird events unfolding in front of him. He just sells it with his eyes. While I said above that there are sparse humorous moments, the part where I laughed was during his “step-dad” therapy group. The group is comprised of comedians - Donald Faison aka Turk from Scrubs being one of them - and they are telling horror stories of their step-kids. The best one includes a mirror and a pooping child.
Little Evil could’ve been a great addition to the highly underrated comedy-horror genre, but failed to live up to its predecessors. The best compliment I can give this movie is that it’s a great movie to watch while you are doing other stuff. Hopefully Craig gets another shot at catching the same lightning he caught with his previous outing. Adam Scott reactions are why I love movies.
Little Evil is currently streaming on Netflix. Don’t hit “skip-intro”, just skip it all together.
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