May 19, 2006
Evil not so funSlasher flick doesn't add much to a played-out genre
By JIM SLOTEK - Toronto Sun
Can you smell what the WWE is cooking?
If it carries the faint odour of freshly carved teenage flesh, plus a soupcan of plucked eyeball, then you've sniffed out See No Evil. It's pro-wrestling czar Vince McMahon's sicktastic entry into the teen-slasher genre, featuring wrestling star Kane as a mute behemoth with an eyeball fetish and aspirations of Jason-esque franchisedom.
Breathing life into the most, ahem, beaten-to-death genre in horror would be a lot to ask of any director, let alone a career cheapie adult filmmaker like Gregory Dark (the auteur behind such works as The Devil In Miss Jones 3, 4 and 5 and at least one Britney Spears video). From that world he brings a fondness for money shots (he seems to have never met a mortal wound he didn't want to penetrate with the camera lens) and a tolerance for inept line-reading. He's also apparently rented The Evil Dead and/or Ringu, fond as he is of suddenly-manic camera spasms.
And from McMahon's ring-bound world of angry, violent cartoon soap opera he apparently learned the maxim "Keep it simple, stupid."
So it is that -- after a quick, bloody flashback and a closeup of the pulpy interior of an empty eye socket -- See No Evil introduces us to two busloads of caricaturistic young offenders from a girls and boys detention centre respectively (played by a slightly overripe cast who are teenagers like the cast of 90210 were). They're all being sent to spend three co-ed days cleaning up a deserted historical building, a former hotel.
However, it seems there's one guest remaining, Jacob Goodnight -- a psychopath the size of a small house, who has fire-and-brimstone religious flashbacks and gets his jollies plucking people's eyeballs out with his fingers. (Never mind The Da Vinci Code, if Christians really want to complain, it should be about all the horror films where we learn that a Fundamentalist upbringing tends to make you criminally nuts).
The ducks are all placed in a row -- there's the putative heroine Kyra (Samantha Noble, who looks like a "junkie chic" model), the computer hacker (Craig Horner), the B&E artist (Michael J. Pagan), the bad boy (Luke Pegler), the cop who once put a bullet in Goodnight (Steven Vidler) and the girls' matron (Tiffany Lamb). And a fairly predictable cull begins, sans suspense for the most part (the inevitable "surprise" practically gives itself away in the second scene), though Dark does throw the odd changeup by not having the teens killed in the usual descending order of obnoxiousness.
There are also sporadic flashes of something like wit in the bloodbath (an animal activist gets eaten by a pack of dogs, a bed is equipped with a bell/tripwire that alerts the villain that there's sex happening, punishable by death). Still, by the fourth or fifth eye-gouging the movie seems short of ideas.
As for Kane, he has the scary cred (in the wrestling world he's the sometime "brother" of The Undertaker), and shows promise as an ogre. But he doesn't really get a chance to bring much to the butcher block besides his admittedly-frightening puss.
Sicktastic! But did you expect subtlety from a teen slasher flick produced by pro-wrestling czar Vince McMahon? Career adult filmmaker Gregory Dark apparently never met a mortal wound he didn't want to penetrate with the camera lens. There's a cartoony enthusiasm at work at work in some of the deaths, but by the fourth or fifth eye-gouging Dark seems short of ideas.
SEE NO EVIL
1 hour, 25 minutes
Starring: Glen "Kane" Jacobs, Luke Pegler, Samantha Noble
Director: Gregory Dark
PLOT: As community service, a group of young offenders are sentenced to spruce up the historical Blackwell Hotel, unaware that it has been the hiding place for a brutal psychopath named Jacob Goodnight. He sets about slaughtering them one by one and plucking out their eyeballs for his collection.
SUN Rating: 1-1/2 out of 5