My latest/last Fantasia (International Film Fest) review for 2016 is for Another Evil. The only thing I knew about it was that it was directed by Carson Mell, a guy who wrote/directed some episodes of “Silicon Valley”. So, obviously, I was excited. I guess that’s not the only thing I knew because for some reason I knew that Jay and Mark Duplass’s brother was in it. What? That doesn’t make sense? Well, tell that to my brain. Because for reasons that Oliver Sacks (if he were still alive or a zombie) would not be able to determine , my brain thinks that Steve Zissis is a Duplass brother. Where was I? Oh! I was excited. Now I’ve seen it. Was my presumptive Carson-Mell-has-made-cool-things-in-the-past-so-this-will-be-cool excitement warranted? Let me tell you about it. (i mean, i assume that’s why you’re here after all)
Dan is an artist doing pretty well for himself. Well enough to have a second home/cabin outside of Los Angeles where his primary residence is located. He and his wife and teenage boy use the place as a getaway to chill, paint, and sleep in beds other than their regular beds. (i guess that’s why rich people have second homes) But it’s hard to chill and paint when your place is haunted! Once this fact is discovered (in shocking and scary ways), the family hires a new age type guy to look into it. He does his weird thing and determines that the ghosts aren’t malicious so the family should just learn to live with it. Dan isn’t keen on the supernatural distraction and seeks a second opinion from “Os”, a socially awkward ghost killer (self-described) who believes the entities are demons. His unique methods for trapping and vanquishing the ghosts may be effective, but can Dan survive Os’s pedantry, emotional neediness, and possible insanity?
Another Evil is yet another strong entry in the Fantasia 2016 lineup! Zissis is perfect as the good-but-put-upon paterfamilias. He’s an artist with a very down-to-earth outlook. Even when he sees a ghost with his own eyes – scaring him out of his wits, naturally – he still has a healthy skepticism for the whole business. Especially, the literal business of ghost hunting/whispering represented by the two men he hires to investigate the situation. He’s affable enough but he has his limits. His isn’t even the only great performance. With one exception (so minor that i won’t even specify. just watch it yourself if you’re curious), everyone in the tiny cast is rock solid. Especially, Mark Proksch as Os. I know guys like that. You know guys like that. And he sells the role completely. But we don’t watch horror for the great acting, do we? We watch for the scares! And Another Evil has plenty! The lingering shots and dark hallways create a supreme sense of unease throughout the film. The actual ghosts startle and scare as they creep up stairs or pass through the background. One in particular, presents a disturbing visage indeed. And the interplay of the fear of these entities and the increasingly bizarre behavior of Os is a brilliant bit of plotting. By the end of the film, the stakes are disastrously high and the viewer is swept up in a heart-pounding thrill ride to the conclusion. This is indie horror at its best.
The Final Cut: Another Evil is an impressive indie ghost story that provides some primo scares with a sparse cast putting in (mostly) impeccable performances. Carson Mell’s lingering, sometimes voyeuristic camerawork creates a great sense of unease that will have you biting your nails throughout.