Evil Things is another entry in the hand-held/found footage sub-genre of horror. For anyone who needs a description, this kind of horror deals with the audience having to watch meaningless conversations between people who are acting like they’re not acting. Obviously, with the success of the Paranormal Activity franchise, these are the type of films that the public is most recently identifying with. While I did not ever identify with a guy in a hockey mask killing teenagers, I found the Friday The 13th movies as a sort of guilty pleasure that is a reason to not necessarily be scared, but entertained. As you might be able to see, this new genre of a character video taping everything and seeing it from these characters’ eyes has not really set my world afire. The PA movies have not hit a stride with me, and I found that, while Evil Things is being compared to Blair Witch, there has not been a theatre going experience that has matched that one as far as what is going to happen and feeling of dread. However, I heard many positive whispers about Evil Things going in, so the question of whether this would make me put aside my loathing of this genre long enough to enjoy it and the answer being that I wouldn’t have to did creep into my head before putting it in my DVD player. So, did this film live up to expectations?
The film is about five college students who embark on a thought to be joyous adventure to one of their Aunt Gail’s house in the middle of the woods for a 21st birthday party. The journey on the way there proves to be an adventure in itself, as a mysterious van cuts them off and seems to be toying with their young minds. After ridding themselves of this scary site, they arrive at the house and start the celebration. Subsequently, they go back into the house after going on an adventure outside, and what really has been going on starts to unfold.
That is all I am going to say about the plot to this film. Now, to give a bit of credit, first time director shows a lot of promise here. He stages tension well, and the few scares that are on display here are very well done. However, in order to get there, someone has to sit through literally an hour of nonsense and talking. Now, some people enjoy this sort of storytelling because it treats the characters as if they are real and we can identify with them. However, for me, it is a tedious experience, because if I wanted to hear brats complain and say how bad they feel, I would hang with my ex girlfriend. Not only are there non-descript situations, but there are also unsolved plotlines that are introduced and have absolutely no pay-off.
The comparisons to Blair Witch Project are palpable, as there is a scene that is almost directly ripped from that film. But the characters that are in here, including the schlub that will not put the camera down no matter what happens, fall into the realm of cliché for these types of films. The atmospheric tension of the home invasion sequences are decent, and show that Perez can be a formidable part of the horror community in the near future. But, seriously folks: there are literally 40 minutes that have gone by before anything of circumstance happens. And, while the original Halloween is also an example of a slow burn that some modern audiences have complained about nothing happening the majority of the movie, at least you feel charred by the stalk sequences in the end of that film. The end of this one, while disturbing, won’t stay with you when it is over. In fact, I would be willing to bet that you will be looking to stalk your remote by the time
this one is an hour in.