Gore in a Grungy Setting
See No Evil offers horror fans gore and grunge galore. However, there’s not even one character worth caring about in this murky tale of a giant-size serial killer on the rampage in a broken-down old hotel ridden with cockroaches, rats and flies. The ax-wielding maniac’s potential victims include eight wayward teens assigned to clean up the decrepit building in order to reduce their prison sentences.
According to Taylor Litton, an avid fan of such movies, good horror films need two likeable characters -- one who gets killed and one who survives. Unfortunately, in See No Evil, it doesn’t seem to matter who escapes or who meets a gory death at the hand of monster-madman Jacob (played by Kane, the famous wrestler). “Still, although this isn’t a good horror movie, it’s not totally bad either,” Litton declares. “It’s just so-so.”
The film’s gore quotient probably earned points from Litton. I would rate it an 8 out of 10 in this category. The killer gouges out victims’ eyes with his ugly fingernails, for gosh sakes! And he stores those bloody orbs in jars. Ugh. Jacob's targets meet such gruesome ends that I had to close my own eyes to avoid seeing what happens to them. Two horrifying examples stand out for me. (SPOILER ALERT) The girl who talks too much on a cell phone is forced to choke on it, and the vegetarian animal lover becomes food for dogs.
However, I’m taking points away for the movie’s ear-shattering sound effects. Why do we need a sharp, loud noise every time there’s a scene change? I grudgingly put up with that same annoying technique in An American Haunting -- but it’s rapidly becoming my number one pet peeve where horror movies are concerned.
More points off because the film’s grungy setting promises more suspense and thrills than actually materialize on screen. A deserted old hotel with rodents and insects crawling almost everywhere plus spooky cobwebs surrounding staircases and furniture creates a creepy atmosphere, but it’s not capitalized on to the fullest extent here.
Other disappointments come from the movie’s uneven pacing and bland performances. After a harrowing opening segment, the plot takes too long to present any action. And only one cast member, Christina Vidal (Freaky Friday), made an impression on me. She managed to convince me that her character had some concern for the others.
Finally, I’m sure you’re dying to know what drove the killer in See No Evil to become such a malevolent individual. Naturally, like Norman Bates before him, it’s his mom’s fault. “Good thing this movie wasn’t released on Mother’s Day,” my husband observed as we left the multiplex. Lightning-fast flashbacks show the mistreatment the child Jacob received from his religiously misguided parent -- while angelic voices warble “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”
Ah, yes. We must watch out for religion and mothers -- a deadly combination -- at least in horror filmdom.
(Released by Lionsgate and rated “R” for strong gruesome violence and gore, language, sexual content and drug use.)