Review: “Let’s Be Evil” Wants To Be More Than It is
Obesity, laziness, consumerism, and lack of education. According to “Let’s Be Evil”, these are things that the youth of America are facing these days and the film spends ten minutes talking about that and then another hour and ten minutes focusing on anything but. The main protagonist, Jenny (played by Elizabeth Morris who also co-wrote the script) is taking care of her dying mother and the bills are beginning to add up. When she accepts a job from a company called the Posterity Project, Jenny feels like she can breathe a little easier as she’s apparently going to get paid very well for looking after some children. Once she meets her new co-workers, Darby (Elliot James Langridge) and Tiggs (Kara Tointon), the group realizes they’re in store for much more than they bargained for. The Posterity Project takes gifted children and puts them through their Augmented Reality education process; every one involved wears virtual reality glasses that allows them to see the bunker they’re in for what it really is as well as communicate with the compound’s A.I. Ariel (Natasha Moore). Things don’t seem right from the get-go but it’s not until Jenny takes a special interest in one of the kids, Cassandra (Isabelle Allen), that things begin to really get out of hand and our group of chaperones find themselves fighting for their lives, and against the children.
My main bone of contention with this film is everyone involved is British yet in order to make the statement that America’s youth is apathetic towards their impending doom, they must all use Americanized accents. The reason this is an issue with this film is that it makes the acting stale. It’s as if the actors are so concerned with not letting their British accent slip through they forget about inflection, so we have characters dealing with what’s supposed to be a horrific situation yet they respond emotionally as if they’re in a grocery store check-out line. Imagine characters doing their best Ben Stein impression with chaos going on all around them. It was so distracting to me I found myself having to rewind parts of the movie which also meant getting bothered yet again by the acting. It was a vicious cycle that I don’t recommend anyone trying. The film’s plot would have been just as effective if they would have kept this a British film but I guess they felt if they had they wouldn’t have been able to use Kim Wilde’s “Kids In America” for the soundtrack.
With the setting the characters are living in being completely virtual reality, the film’s director, Martin Owen, could have taken advantage of the situation and utilized the freedom to do whatever he wanted; unfortunately the extent of the special effects ranges from messages scratched in a bathroom door to the character’s picture and personal information constantly being on the left side of the screen. Oh! I forgot to mention: because they’re all wearing special glasses, “Let’s Be Evil” is shot mostly in first-person form which was distracting in its own right because you have to believe that someone walks into a room and slowly turns their head in one direction or another in order to see everything. I will say this: for an independent sci-fi horror, the look of the film could have suffered greatly but Martin Owen and cinematographer Chase Bowman give the film a polished enough look that it appears, on the surface, to have a bigger budget than it did.
There are plenty of horror films where kids rise up and terrorize and kill grown adults. It’s what makes children super terrifying to me. Little devils with secret plans. Where “Let’s Be Evil” made it more comical is it appears, at times, that the kids are doing nothing to really attack the grown-ups other than tickling them. When they finally get their hands on Darby — the character who says cool things like, “I’m never careful” — he’s apparently too powerless against their eight year old strength to fight back; which made me wonder why he was acting like he was a bad ass throughout the film. If I knew I could get beaten up by a child, I might take a more reserved approach to the way I interact with people.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, “Let’s Be Evil” starts off as if it has a powerful message to tell and then it completely abandons it which ultimately made the first ten minutes of the film feel preachy and out of place. It felt like they just wanted to get a good American jab in there, use the Kim Wilde song, and then tell a story about weird kids and adult characters with the enthusiasm level of a Valium addict. Such a shame because this film got the hard part right (the aesthetics) and completely botched everything else.
A shaky premise gives way to a badly acted film that could have done much more with its resources. For an independent film, the look of the movie was decent but that’s not enough to make a movie watchable. I only recommend this film if you want to give us your own opinion or see some of the things I’ve pointed out. Otherwise, avoid this movie and save yourself an hour and a half. If you do want to check it out, “Let’s Be Evil” is currently streaming on Netflix.