J.D. Lafrance
See No Evil DVD Review

See No Evil

April 30, 2007

Director: Gregory Dark,
Starring: Glen Jacobs, Christina Vidal, Samantha Noble, Luke Pegler, Rachael Taylor, Michael J. Pagan, Penny McNamee, Steven Vidler,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

See No Evil is the first film brought to you by WWE films, and yes, that’s WWE as in World Wrestling Entertainment. Wrestlers are everywhere these days – they write best-selling novels, they race bikes and cars, they are on the radio, they rap and sing, and now they are breaking into film in a big way. Oh, and they grace our television screens every single week to actually have a bit of a grapple as well. The likes of Hulk Hogan and The Rock have paved the way in Hollywood for such a venture by the WWE to be possible, and here is an all-out gruesome gore-fest of a horror to induct audiences into what to expect from this company. Their first leading man is Kane, a 7ft, 300 pound brute of a monster and some clever individual decided it was a good idea to give this man a complex and steel chain with a rusty hook on the end.

Kane is Jacob Goodknight a reclusive psychopath with a steel plate screwed into his skull, who roams the corridors of the long forgotten Blackwell Hotel with nothing but his messed up past and nightmares for company. That is until eight jailbirds show up on work release from the local prison to help rebuild and clean up the hotel, and with them is the cop that put a bullet through Jacob’s skull four years ago. Now let the blood flow as in true horror movie style, as one by one, Jacob, hooks, slashes and maims his way through the invaders.

See No Evil is presented to us like the good old slasher movies of the 1980s, where you knew who the killer was and just how nasty he was. There’s nothing clever or over-the-top about the script – it’s just simple, dark and brutal. The story has so much potential and its star has visual presence that sums up the entire film. Kane’s character isn’t that far removed from his WWE persona of The Undertaker’s burned and charred younger brother – but it doesn’t need to be. Kane is the perfect choice for Jacob. He is a legitimate monster, but unfortunately Jacob’s attire is that of a grubby baggy shirt, which hides this man’s scary size and diminishes just how daunting he should be. On top of that, the supporting cast drags the whole thing down even further, casting a humongous shadow over something that should have been half decent.

The script offers up some highly questionable dialogue and characterisations, which is delivered by some pretty shoddy actors, and not made any better by the fact that they were led by director Gregory Dark, whose previous responsibilities lay with softcore erotic movies and music videos. With See No Evil, Dark has probably offered up one of the worst executions possible of a “not-baddish” story that has ever been committed to DVD. The plot holes are massive, the camera work is affable, the editing is unfitting of the feature and the CG work is mediocre. But lets face it, See No Evil is not meant to be a work of art – all audiences want to see is some gore and that’s where it delivers. Horror fans will rejoice as we are treated to some proper eye gouging, limb hacking, face spearing, throat crushing action, and unlike the recent mainstream run of gore films like Hostel or The Hills Have Eyes, this movie does not cut away at the last moment.

Someone should have told the director he was making a horror movie and not a hip-hop video as the aesthetics of the sets seem too “placed” and too much is expected of the audience as the poor storytelling leads to them trying to fill in the blanks. Let’s put it this way – Jacob’s name is never mentioned in the entire movie, if the filmmakers thought we weren’t entitled to that piece if critical information, you can imagine what else is not mentioned (cough – steel plate – cough). You don’t have to be a wrestling fan or know anything about Kane to watch this movie – it’s a pure horror, one with so much potential that was brought down by hapless decisions and inept filmmaking.

Special Features:

Better than expected – interviews with cast and crew and the making does actually give you decent insight into the CG work and stunts, including the more savage moments of the film.

However, the commentary is perhaps the most intriguing. Provided by director Gregory Dark and script and novel writer Dan Madigan, they talk about what the intentions were with See No Evil, and you can’t help but think that if only they had done what they are talking about, then the film would have actually been a lot better. The amount of times they say “oh, I explained that bit in novel,” or “in the original script ‘this happened’ that leads to this scene,” is laughable. Even more laughable that they both seem oblivious to the fact that not everyone will have read the novel and no-one has read the original script except them two. Idiots!

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


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