Critique de Whispertone
Carson Mell's "Another Evil" elevates the nonchalant expectations of the independent horror film. The eerie homage to classic 80's lake house slashers and stoic expressionless boogeymen is evident in the opening sequences introduction to the main characters Dan (Steve Zissis), and his wife Mary (Jennifer Irwin) and son Jazz (Dax Flame). During a fun filled night of charades the family is alerted to a cryptic disturbance upstairs in Dan's painting room but quite little is discovered at the time besides a random paint mark on the wall. Later in the night as the family sleeps Jazz is awoken by a silhouetted movement in his room and as he calls out "hello" a muffled and guttural voice replies back with its own hallowed, "hello." The chills shall run up and down your spine in this instinctual moment of fear.
Hereafter Dan calls in an exorcist, Joey Lee Dancing (Dan Bakkendahl) that lackadaisically feels for any supernatural vibes in the home and tells Dan and Mary that the beings encountered are harmless, and "actually kind of cool," and merely attempting to make contact and not to scare them. He even goes so far as to say how lucky they should be obviously oblivious that it is not the standard viewpoint for the protagonist. The easy going relaxed attitude of the first exorcist is enough for Dan to justify a second opinion which illustrates the humor of how such a dark situation is being handled so casually.
Enter the clumsy not so chic brutally honest and overly outspoken "ghost killing demon fighting etc" Oscar/Os (Mark Proksch) and his painfully heavy treasure chest of ghost busting devices, traps and toys. Dressed all in black, leather jacket and an outlandish Indian Jones styled high-crowned, wide-brimmed sable fedora hat, Os is a lonely vulgar alcoholic nicotine nipping recently divorced cat loving spectacled man-child.
Throughout the film Dan and Os share a few sincere moments together that truly blossoms into a captivating honest onscreen bond between two beer bellied men, one of whom fights entities from the spirit realm and another who paints death circles. Os, even notes that it is the start of something really special and how he envies Dan's warm and charismatic personality.
When Os describes his teenage escapades of a clock-work orange manner he begins with a traumatic tale of corpse desecration at a mortuary where him and his merry men fail to woe a group of sisters. They leave to a local Dennys to continue the inebriated night when Os is approached by a mysterious and random beautiful women. She easily seduces the young Os and beds him in her mansion. The following morning as Os describes it, he rode back on his bike to the location of the exploits for his grandiose and gratifying night only to find a vacant lot. Dun dun dun. (And that he was also left with something else from the devil.)
After pretending to rid the house of the final ghost which Dan orchestrates in attempt to rid his home of Os, who quickly is becoming overbearing, is still compelled by the notion that he himself was possessed the previous night by the devil from his tormented youth and that there is still some EFD (Evil Fully Determined) Demon with a capital D lingering in his new friends home. Eventually Dan realizes that he cannot avoid Os and simply sweep him under the rug but it's a little too late as he arrives home only to discover Os destroying an antique chair owned by his grandmother and frantically trying to explain his theory on the source of all this darkness.
Dan is understandably unmoved by the passion Os has for extinguishing this long burning eternal feud that leads to an even more frightening evil roaming within his home and terrorizing his family.
Thus, Another Evil.
The flights of fancy that Os has maintained up to this point in his life are no longer whimsical or fantasy yet an absurdly twisted reality that reveals itself as the real hidden horror of the film. It's played off so perfectly and naturally as the story winds down questioning: is this all a psychological issue in the mind of Os or are we the ones not seeing all that lies beyond?
Secondary background hints of the deeper plot are eluded to, which upon completion will immediately demand a rewatch so the viewer may be blessed by Mell's complete vision. The spookiness of the score, creepy scenery shots and the subtle blood red theme throughout the film are so minimal yet absolutely enriching that it reinvigorates that youthful run-to-your-parents-bedroom childhood fear.
For the most part, the tone stays calm and quirky even as the normalcy of everyday life meshes and warps with the plentifully bizarre peaks into the demonic. But don't pull the covers up to high or you might really miss this awe-inspiring glimpse into the unknown paranormal and the middle age madness of a haunted man's damaged psyche.
- Note de Whispertone: 3.5