Movie Review: Let’s Be Evil (2016)
“Evil see. Evil do.”
Let’s Be Evil (2016)
Director: Martin Owen
Cast: Kara Tointon, Jamie Bernadette, Isabelle Allen
Synopsis: A young woman finds herself trapped in an underground experimental facility in which gifted children are subjected to a new method of teaching.
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First day on a new job is always something of a stomach churner, but young Jenny (Elizabeth Morris, Let’s Be Evil’s co-writer) is just glad to be finally earning some money to pay for the care of her sick mother. Some might be a little circumspect about a new employer who is so preoccupied with secrecy, and whose workplace is reached by a lift which descends far deeper into the earth than one would reasonably expect, but Jenny is young and keen to please.
She’s been selected to work on a special project at an experimental facility in which particularly gifted children are taught… stuff … via augmented reality headsets. Upon arrival, and the supply of high-tech lenses which enable her to see things which her own eyesight can’t, she meets the other members of her team: Tiggs (Kara Tointon – The Sweeney), Darby (Elliot James Langridge), and Arial (Jamie Bernadette – The Darkness), a super-computer given swirly psychedelic female form. Between them, these three provide what amounts to a glorified 24-hour babysitting service to a dozen or so creepy kids who dress in grey boiler suits and shuffle between lessons like those drone workers in Metropolis. During lessons the children sit at a desk and peer into headsets as they silently draw lines in the air.
As you’d expect, it’s not long before things take a sinister turn, and it’s at this point, just as the movie should be coming together, that Let’s Be Evil begins to fall apart. Director Martin Owen spends far too much time showing Jenny’s slowly mounting confusion and unease, and nowhere near enough of the creepy kids who appear to be hacking into the computer that gives Arial her human form. Anyone who has seen Children of the Damned knows that merely having one of your characters stared at by an expressionless and unmoving child ramps up a movie’s scare factor 100 per cent, but Owen barely allows us a glimpse of them. But then, that’s perhaps just as well, seeing as how, judging by the one killing we do half-witness, their preferred method of murder seems to be to gently pat their victim to death. So, instead of killer kiddies, we’re subjected to endless shots of Jenny and her friends running up and down corridors or shuffling through ventilation shafts until they come to a dead end and have to start shuffling backwards.
Did I mention Let’s Be Evil is a found-footage movie? Well, it is … sort of. Most of the movie is shot from Jenny’s point of view, or rather the POV of her lenses. And while the movie follows the usual sub-genre plot device of slowly narrowing its protagonists’ options for escape until at some point they find themselves barely able to move, it neglects to insert any sense of fear or tension into its scenes, leaving us with little more than a succession of moderately impressive, but ultimately empty, effects.
(Reviewed 31st October 2016)