Saturday, June 10, 2017

But I Digress...Genius or Madness? The Evil Within (2017)

By Cat

Movie Name/Year: The Evil Within (2017)
Tagline: You Can't Run From a Nightmare
Genre: Horror
Length: 98 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production Companies: Supernova LLC, The Writers Studio
Producers: Michael Luceri, Scott Putman, Robert Stark Hickey, Kent Van Vleet
Director: Andrew Getty
Writer: Andrew Getty
Actors: Fred Koehler, Sean Patrick Flanery, Brianna Brown, Dina Meyer, Kim Darby, Francis Guinan, Tim Bagley, Michael Berryman, Matthew McGrory
Stunt Doubles/Coordinators: Cheryl Lynn Albrecht, Hank Amos, Jennifer Cobb, Brycen Counts, Colin Follenweider, Meegan Godfrey, Leigh Hennessy, Peter Iacangelo III, Karine Mauffrey, Cassandra McCormick, Peewee Piemonte, Felipe Savahge, Marc Schaffer, Jim Vickers

Viewing Options: Amazon Instant Video (Available on Prime), YouTube (Purchase), Vudu, iTunes
Trust the Dice Rating: R

Blurb from IMDb: The sadistic tale of a lonely, mentally handicapped boy who befriends his reflection in an antique mirror. This demonic creature orders him to go on a murderous rampage.*
* Blurb truncated to avoid spoilers.

For today’s digression, I bring to you a tale of inspiration, passion, darkness, and obsession. That’s not even touching on the movie yet!

I thought I’d change things up a bit and give you a review for a movie I have been eager to see since an article crossed my Facebook feed in March, titled “You Need To Know About THE EVIL WITHIN Right This Minute.” I took that click-bait and became intrigued with the story about this movie – both in its making and the film, itself. 

I’ll get to that. For now, the movie!

This film certainly satisfied my craving for a horror movie. I haven’t seen one quite like this in some time. Though, usually when I’m cocking my head to the side and uttering ‘what the hell?’ it’s not for good reasons. That wasn’t the case here. I couldn't look away - even when I wanted to.

Upfront, I’ll tell you that this film is a mind-fuck. It blurs the lines of dream and reality. One has to question if there’s actually a supernatural presence involved or if it’s all in the main character’s head. Either way, the story is fundamentally disturbing. There's also some gore; but honestly, the movie doesn't rely on that or even the traditional 'scares' to get under your skin. It's highly creative and original.

Frederick Koehler (Death Race, Victor, American Horror Story) was able to switch gears with eerie ease in his role as Dennis. Sometimes you see actors portraying a mentally challenged person, and they play to all the tired tropes – often losing the quality of truth that allows you to suspend disbelief. Not so, here. He captured that essence of being trapped in your own head that is likely why so many are uncomfortable with mental disabilities. How much is really going on behind the challenged person’s ability to express themselves? 

There’s some really heady stuff blended in here – but it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make you feel like you’re being bludgeoned with it. There are some nuances that are masterfully laced into this film that make for some interesting ‘lightbulb’ moments as the story climaxes and events begin to spiral. 

This movie might not be for everyone. It’s trippy, to say the least. Some of the elements are downright insane. But that is quite likely to be entirely on purpose. 

While the film is heavily centered on Dennis and his struggles between dreams, reality, a possible supernatural element, and his own mind; it also explores a bit the roles of family members as caregivers and how it can impact their lives. There were a few spotty bits in this underlying plot involving Dennis’ older brother John, played by Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints, Dexter, The Devil's Carnival), and his girlfriend Lydia, played by Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers, Saw, Turbulence). Overall, I think it adds more to the film than the itty bitty missing pieces of the puzzle take away. These were really the only scenes that didn’t feel as connected and seamless as the rest. 

So why is the making of the movie so intriguing? Well, see that’s what I was talking about at the beginning here. This is the sole film credit for writer/director Andrew Getty (1967–2015). His last name might be familiar because he’s one of the heirs of the industrialist John Paul Getty (1967–2015) of Getty Oil, the Getty Foundation, J. Paul Getty Museum, and the like. There are several other well-known family members, but let’s focus on Andrew. 

Andrew Getty created this movie as a passion project. He funded the film with his own personal fortune, but unfortunately died before he could see the final production released. It’s a shame, really, considering this movie was 15 years in the making. Filming began in 2002, and Getty committed himself to making the movie perfect. He had a hand in every aspect of production, and took meticulous care with camerawork and effects. Getty, himself, created all the sets, elaborate animatronics, and camera rigs. 

Long after principle photography had ended, he was furiously editing and agonizing over every film cell – which is what he was still doing at the time of his death. There had been a few other hiccups along the way that stalled production, but Getty was undaunted. Luckily, producers had enough to run with to finish after his passing and finally option the film for purchase and release. So here we are! 

Was this movie a work of genius or madness? I say both – mad genius. It was amazing in its own quirky way. It delivered on my expectations and then some. It won’t be for everyone, but I think fans of the genre will appreciate it. I have hopes this will become a cult classic.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – N/A
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 33%
Metascore – N/A
Metacritic User Score – N/A
IMDB Score – 5.8/10
Amazon Score – 3.5/5

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

But I Digress... is a weekly column for that can't be pinned down to just one thing. It's Cat's celebration of tangents, random references, and general fan geekdom that both intertwines with, revolves around, and diverges from our movie-review core. In homage to the beloved Brit comedians, we want to bring you something completely different!

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