Another Evil Is Devilishly Funny
Review by Aaron Haughton
Driving synth score. Ominously slow Lynchian pushes and pans, accompanied with low audible guttural moans. A cabin in the woods lit up like jack-o-lantern with heterochromia. Perspective shots from the outside of the cabin watching the family inside. Booms and bumps in the night. A jump scare encounter with a specter. Another Evil begins as a cliched horror, but quickly shifts moods to deadpan comedy.
Dan (played by Steve Zissis) is a modern artist and family man. His life gets complicated when he and his family meet the ghosts inhabiting their vacation home, which is nestled convenietly in the woods. This leads Dan and his wife, Mary (played by Jennifer Irwin), to hire Joey Lee (played by Dan Bakkedahl), an exorcist who dresses in basketball tearaways and a sleeveless tee.
Drinking an Arizona tallboy tea, paranormal medium Joey Lee "communicates" with the two otherworldly entities that are inhabiting Dan's house, ruling that: "...yes, your house is haunted, but the ghosts are ambivalent -- in fact, they're actually kinda cool." Joey goes on to say that the ghosts are good ghosts and that removing them would be "kinda an asshole move." Which leads Dan to hire Os (played by Mark Proksch, the film's true champion), an "industrial-grade exorcist," to rid the vacation home of its Demons. And that's with a capital "D," dude.
It's at this point where Another Evil subtly shifts to an abject character study of laughable proportions. Os infiltrates Dan's home with his Ghostbusters-like gadgets and bizarre box contraption to capture the spirits. He not only catches ghosts, but abuses alcohol, claiming that it helps with the ghost hunting, and is in shambles over a recent divorce, which was incited over having too many cats. Red flag after hilarious red flag, Dan just kinda sits by as a passenger, which leads to some pretty hilarious scenes, like the canned wine scene, or Os discussing how he saw the devil, describing him as, "just classic, you know. Horns. Red. Cat eyes, which surprised me. Fangs. A lot of Halloweeny stuff."
The ride of the first two acts is a good one. All the low key deadpan comedy landed with me, and I laughed riotously at times; however, it builds to a third act that fizzles and falls apart. There is a sudden tonal shift from comedic to the grave seriousness of the typical horror film, and it just doesn't work. It fails, and fails hard. The last 18 minutes don't necessarily ruin the film completely, but it will kill your buzz, dragging out the end to a anticlimax that doesn't bother to twist the genre like the rest of the film. Ultimately, it kinda succumbs to being a cliched horror again.
All in all, it's one of the funnier films I've seen this year, but feels more like a drawn out skit, lacking in stamina for the longevity of a feature.
Rating: 3 bare naked industrial-grade exorcists standing ominously in your living room out of 5.
What do you think? Did the film land for you? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!