Director: Eli Craig
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to good movies. Plots do not have to be basic or simple, in fact a good layered plot is something that should be desired by a viewer as that is something that will help keep your attention throughout the entirety of the film. However, the point of the plot should be simple. There should be a simple goal or end game that we understand and follow early on in the story, otherwise things get convoluted and won’t make much sense. Second only to the plot, arguably, is an understanding of the rules of the film, we are viewing; an understanding of the world we are a part of for the duration of the film. For instance, if a movie is supposed to be scary, then it must create the proper atmosphere and tell us what kind of monster, literal or figurative, the protagonist will be facing. With Little Evil, a Netflix original film released on September 1, Director Eli Craig takes moments to establish his atmosphere and rules to his version of the world, allowing the audience to just sit back and enjoy this surprisingly good horror/comedy.
The movie takes only moments to establish that we are in a surreal or alternate reality where common logic and belief must be suspended; we are immediately aware of the satirical nature of the film due to its odd quick camera movements, fast edits and sound effects. What I enjoyed about the film is it doesn’t try to be anything else, it establishes that it is a satire of horror movies with clear references to such films as: Poltergeist, Amityville Horror and The Omen. We also know that the film will be a quirky comedy of sorts due to the comedians and comedic actors used in the film; comedians it seems were allowed free reign to ad-lib their lines. The film revolves around Gary (Adam Scott) who becomes a step-father to Lucas (Owen Atlas) when he marries Samantha (Evangeline Lilly). A pre-packaged family can be daunting task for a man or woman who never had to take care of a child before, but in Gary’s case it would appear that Lucas is much more than he can handle as it appears that Lucas is the antichrist. Gary must find a way to save the world and stop the coming of the apocalypse, but does he have what it takes to stop Lucas?
The film pays homage to classic horror films of the 1970’s and 1980’s as well as homage to some classic rock as Lucas looks like Angus Young’s version of Damian from The Omen. It was a lot of fun looking for the references to those movies as it was a test of sorts to see how much of a movie nerd I really am; I’d like to think I found them all. Speaking of nerd, comedy nerds will have fun spotting their favorite comedians and comedic actors with cameos from stand-ups like Chris D’elia, who has a funny story involving his step-son and the top drawer of his cabinet; I can only assume the scene was totally ad-libbed as it was too funny to be written by anyone else. All in all this movie works because it doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is, a horror/comedy not meant to be taken seriously, but rather, just meant to be enjoyed and meant to make you laugh. It is a good pick if you want to see something different for your weekend movie night.