Another Evil features father and artist Dan Pappadakis (played by Steve Zissis, Roadies, Togetherness), who hires Os Bijourn (Mark Proksch, Better Call Saul, Son of Zorn) with the consultation of his wife Mary (Jennifer Irwin, The Goldbergs, Halt and Catch Fire). Os is a man described to Dan as a straight-up ghost assassin, hired to take care of the supposed ghosts in Dan’s family cabin after the first medium he hires proclaims that Dan should be thankful the ghosts are friendly (and leave well enough alone). Not satisfied with that first assessment, Dan brings in Os for a second opinion, but the so-called ghost assassin brings with him more grief and chaos than anything else.
Another Evil is a fascinating film from start to finish. While the marketing relied more on the comical side of the movie, really emphasizing the straight-up ghost assassin line, it undersold itself in the sinister tale that it weaves for the audience. Based on advertising and the trailer, I figured this was a stab at a more humorous take on the paranormal investigation movie, but what surprised me was that this was not even remotely close to what Another Evil is. The film is a sad, tragic story that involves an emotionally unstable man and the man who needs his help. Throughout the film, the premise becomes less about the ghosts and more about the demented ramblings of a sick man.
The story is also is very well-told. I was taken aback by the excellent crafting of the story, the intricate detail of every point, the fact that there was not 30 minutes of pointless vitriol, and just how naturally the dialogue flowed. For example, in the initial parts of the movie Dan and his wife Mary are sitting down with the first medium after his assessment of the paranormal activity in their house. While the medium explains what he saw, both Dan and Mary give visual clues, mostly through their body language, about how they feel towards the medium. Dan turns his head and scrunches his face up slightly to show that he is neither impressed, nor buying what the medium is telling them, but Mary is nodding affirmatively and showing signs that she wholeheartedly believes him. Basically, scenes like this show the characters interacting as people do in real life, as opposed to over-exaggerations or over-explanations of basic concepts.
Other fantastic aspects of Another Evil are that of sound design and cinematography. From the first shot to the last, everything is appropriately lit, beautiful and each image serves a purpose. Sometimes as a show of creative force, directors will make the decision to crowd their film with shots that are more appropriate for the arthouse crowd, and while that can be neat, it is also distracting from what else is happening. All the scenes in this film have purpose and direction, which was nice to see.
Also, I cannot rave enough about the sound design and choices of sound effects in this film enough. Another Evil expertly uses sound cues to create tension and at ideal moments it eliminates all sound to enhance the terrifying experience of the moment. Good sound design and cinematography can really make or break a film and both are expertly handled here. However, my favorite feature of this film remains the storyline itself. While there are not repetitive scenes of pointless dialogue that are quick to bore, it does take its time in revealing the entirety of what is happening.
The beginning seems to be about ghost hunting, but as it continues the plot switches focus to the people inside the house instead. I was not quite sure upon viewing why the direction was switched, but as Another Evil continued, you realize that the threats are not in another dimension, they are sitting on the couch next to you, eating dinner. It is a slow burn to get to this point, but honestly, the last 30 minutes of the film are terrifying and caught me completely off guard.
My only complaint would be the editing. Every scene is so well crafted in this film, but there are just far too many of them. For instance, at one point Os asks Dan if he would like to go out for cheeseburger after catching a ghost. That is a reasonable and innocent enough line, but then we are shown that they are eating cheeseburgers and I am not sure if I needed this small scene to really hammer that tiny point home. There are many others like this that add authenticity to the film, but can also take away from the plot.
I cannot recommend Another Evil enough for anyone, horror fan or otherwise. This is an original film which will have you hooked from start to finish and is a good time for any time. You will be left reeling and digesting after it finishes, but trust me, it is well worth the ride.
Catch Justice Served when it releases in theaters and on digital HD May 5th, 2017.
WICKED RATING 7/10
Director(s): Carson D. Mell
Writer(s): Carson D. Mell
Stars: Dan Bakkedahl, Beck DeRobertis, Dax Flame
Studio/ Production Co: Memory
Release date: May 5th, 2017
Length: 90 min