See No Evil Review
By Shawn McKenzie 05/27/2006
With the exception of the talented Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, I have yet to see a professional wrestler who can do a credible acting job (though Hulk Hogan is pretty entertaining to watch on his VH1 “Celebreality” show “Hogan Knows Best”…which is more engaging than any of his attempts to act on the silver screen.) Now we have WWE wrestler Glen Jacobs, a.k.a. Kane, trying to flex his acting chops in the horror movie See No Evil. If the movie was better written, he might have gotten away with it.
Officer Frank Williams (Steven Vidler) and his rookie partner, Neal Blaine (Corey Parker Robinson), are out on a call responding to a psycho killer who has kidnapped a victim. They bust in and find a young woman (Zoe Ventura) who has had her eyes plucked out. The killer, Jacob Goodnight (Kane), who has been mentally messed up by his overly religious mom, arrives and kills Blaine. He then chops off Williams’ left forearm with an axe, but before Jacob can finish the job, Williams shoots him in the head. Four years later, Williams now works at the county detention center for boys. On this particular day, he is escorting four juvenile delinquents…Michael (Luke Pegler), Richie (Craig Horner), Russell (Mikhael Wilder), and Tye (Michael J. Pagan)…to the Blackwell Hotel, a rundown hotel owned by Margaret Gate (Cecily Polson.) Margaret is an older woman who says she’s turning the hotel into a homeless shelter, and the courts have agreed to trade a month of the boys’ individual sentences for three days of free labor cleaning up the place. Williams’ colleague, the newly engaged Hannah Anders (Tiffany Lamb), has brought four of her female troubled teens with her as well. Kira (Samantha Noble), who has a past with Michael (she sold drugs for him and testified against him later); Christine (Christina Vidal), who is Kira’s friend; Melissa (Penny McNamee), who is an animal activist that the others keep calling “granola girl;” and Zoe (Rachael Taylor), who is a talkative and promiscuous young woman. None of them wants to work, and most of them take the opportunity to either get out or find treasure (this is the assumption of Richie and Tye.) On the first night, they all make plans to go up to the off-limits fire-damaged top floor to party and fool around. Since it has been ten years since Scream arrived, and horror characters haven’t learned from the advice of that movie that they shouldn’t party in creepy hotels, the still-alive Jacob of course is the one who stalks and kills them one-by-one. He has had the hole in his head patched up by a metal plate, and his weapon of choice is a meat hook attached to a metal chain. He lives in the hotel, and apparently, he has installed a few two-way mirrors to spy on the suspecting victims. After hooking the victims (or doing other gross things to them), he gouges out their eyeballs and puts them in jars of liquid to preserve them. He kills a few, but kidnaps Kira instead and puts her in a cage, because he is fascinated by her assortment of tattoos, including a cross on her back. The survivors attempt to rescue Kira and get the heck out of there…before they become Jacob’s next victim.
Unlike other critics, I really like horror movies…but there are a few requirements for a good one. First…they have to be scary. If they aren’t scary, they have to be at least imaginatively gory. It also helps if it has some witty dialogue. Unfortunately, this movie has none of that (with the exception of a creative scene of a victim being force-fed a cell phone into the victim’s mouth…eww!) First time screenwriter Dan Madigan has put together a very clichéd killing-clueless-teenagers-who-look-as if-they-are-in-their-late-‘20s script. The only deviation that I found was that one character was killed early that I thought was going to be a main character (I’ll let you figure out which one that is), but otherwise, I figured out the main plot early on, including the “surprise twist” at the end. Other horror scripts recently have had the good dialogue, like last year’s Saw II and this year’s Hostel and Final Destination 3 (all of which also contained some great gory special effects.) Isn’t it a little suspicious that Madigan’s only other writing work is as an “uncredited” writer for UPN’s (which is now the CW’s) “WWF Smackdown!?”
Kane’s performance was about as wooden as the late Andre the Giant was in 1987’s The Princess Bride (though a great script and wonderful performances from his co-stars backed up Andre.) I don’t know if he plans on making more movies, but he might want to get an acting coach first (and don’t appear in any more horror movies, because they hurt any chance of credibility you may hope to have.) Also on a side note…when do serial killers have the time to work out? Do they pump iron obsessively in between killings? (This isn’t a criticism of Kane as an actor…just Jacob as a character.)
I have seen plenty of creative directors start their careers in music videos (David Fincher is probably my favorite example), so I wouldn’t fault a director for starting there. I wouldn’t even fault a director for being a former porn director…but if See No Evil is any indication, Gregory Dark may rank up there with the notorious Ed Wood and his successor…video game movie adaptor Uwe Boll. This is Dark’s first mainstream movie (other than porn and music videos, he has directed those inexpensive Skinamax-like “thrillers”), and ironically, we don’t even get the cheap thrill of gratuitous nudity (one character is naked in the shower briefly, and the one “love scene” features no nudity.) This is also the third movie from WWE Films, who previously produced two of The Rock’s movies (2003’s The Rundown and 2004’s Walking Tall.) If they have any hope of for their future projects, like The Condemned (starring “Stone Cold” Steve Austin), The Marine (starring John Cena), or Journey of the Deadman (starring Triple H), they may have to make sure their leading men don’t let their movies down with bad acting. Otherwise, the “wrestler” movie genre will be about as successful as the video game adaptation genre has been…which is not much.
Buy this book at
SEE THIS MOVIE!
Catch this movie at the theater if you can...
Wait until it comes out on video...
Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...
Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!