Monday, July 10, 2017

ANOTHER EVIL (2016) (Blu-ray Review)

Label: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: July 18th 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 91 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Carson Mell
Cast: Steve Zissis,Mark Proksch, Jennifer Irwin, Dan Bakkedahl, Dax Flame, Steve Little

In director Carson Mell's debut feature film we have a successful L.A. painter named Dan (Steve Zissis) with his wife Mary (Jennifer Irwin) and teen son Jazz (Dax Flame), they're spending time at their vacation home in the Arizona desert when they hear a noise coming from his upstairs art studio. Dan goes to investigate and finds that a few of his paint brushes have been thrown onto the floor, the adjacent wall marked by a smudge of paint. Puzzled, Dan heads back downstairs, where he sees a truly supernatural sight, a ghost appears before him on the staircase, a creepy humanoid with red tendrils hanging from it's mouth, it's Lovecraftian stuff, or maybe just Zoidberg-ian for you Futurama fans. 

The encounter unnerves him and the family calls in local medium named Joey Lee (Dan Bakkedahl) to asses the situation. Joey is a low-key ghost hunter who shows up in a t-shirt and sweatpants, sipping from his oversized Arizona Ice Tea can as he feels out the supernatural situation, confirming that there are indeed supernatural presences in the home, but that they seem to be harmless in his opinion, and should be left alone. This diagnosis doesn't sit well with Dan who doesn't wish to share his vacation home with unwanted spirits, friendly or not. On the advice of his L.A. art agent he calls in an "industrial grade exorcist" named Os (Mark Proksch) for a second opinion, an intense man who is way more serious about his ghost hunting than Joey, which gives Dan a certain confidence in his abilities.  

Dan invites the ghost hunter to his home behind the back of his wife, who has returned to L.A. with their son, she had seemed quite content with the former ghost hunters opinion on the matter, but with his wife away Dan and Os spend a weekend together hunting and trapping the ghosts at the desert dwelling. Dan is fascinated with Os as he sets about detecting and trapping the ghosts, using all manner of hokey props, determining that the spirits are not benevolent at all, that they are "EFD", Evil Fully Determined, which sounds hilarious!

The two men begin to bond over ghost hunting shenanigans, but the more he finds out about Os the more Dan realizes that the ghost hunter is a bit of a weirdo, a lonely man going through a bitter divorce, someone in need of a friend, and he has set his sights on Dan, who soon, but not soon enough, begins to realize that the ghosts are not going to be the hardest thing to get rid of, it's gonna be Os. 

It begins as an indie ghost story but evolves into a black-comedy along the way of The Cable Guy by way of Paranormal Activity, with Os becoming a bit too clingy for poor passive Dan who is just too much of a nice guy to tell the weirdo to leave when he realizes the guy's a nut. What begins as a celebratory night of drinking vintage WW2 canned wine after "trapping" the first ghost begins to go off the rails as Os begins sharing stories about his crumbling marriage, telling a bewildered Dan of his own encounter with a corpse at a morgue, and a night with none other than Satan himself, or herself, a sexual encounter that left Os with a horrid case of gonorrhea... clearly Os does not have any boundaries, eventually the idea of hiring a stripper arises and only makes things worse. 

The movie is low-budget, it looks it, it's not the most stylish ghost story you've ever seen but the writing is good and the dialogue kept me tied into the story for the most part. Not surprisingly the ghosts prove to be less of a threat (and presence) then Os who winds up being a stalkerish nut job, and the ending spins the story around on it's head, making this a fun, weird, and left of center indie thriller wrapped up in a ghost story with a twist. Zissis and Proksch are good together onscreen, their passive/pathetic chemistry is the heart of the movie, offering both humor and some genuine uneasiness, before erupting into some surprisingly violent situations.  
Special Features: 
- Making Of
- Deleted Scenes
- Trailers 

Another Evil (2016) has some good moments, Dan and Os's chemistry is good fun, but it doesn't make for a great movie, this feels like it should have been a fun short, but has been stretched and padded to get it to feature length, the premise just isn't deep enough make this a solid 90-minute movie, but for fans of indies who are perhaps a bit more used to the flaws of low-budget movie making there's some fun and surprises to be had here.