SEE NO EVIL
Directed by Gregory Dark
Produced by Joel Simon
Written by Dan Madigcan
Director of Photograpy Ben Nott
Music by Tyler Bates
Cast: Kane, Christina Vidal, Michael J. Pagan, Luke Pegler, Samantha Noble
2006/84 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
1.78:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Lionsgate DVD
In Hollywood, nothing succeeds like success. If something works for one person or studio, then others will follow. Over the years, several professional wrestlers have enjoyed varying degrees of success in crossing over to films (Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan), but none have matched the star power generated by The Rock (ne Dwayne Johnson), who has starred in a string of films. Given that, it was just a matter of time before more wrestlers arrived on-screen. The last is wrestler Kane (real name Glen Jacobs), who brings his act to the screen in the low-budget shocker SEE NO EVIL.
As SEE NO EVIL opens, police officer Frank Williams (Steven Vidler) responds to a routine call and soon finds himself confronting a monstrous killer (Kane) who chops off Williams' hand, before fleeing the scene. The action then jumps ahead several years, where we find Williams working with a juvenile detention center. He and Hannah (Tiffany Lamb) have arranged for a group of young detainees, both male and female, to engage in a community service project in order to shorten their sentence. Christine (Christina Vidal), Michael (Luke Pegler), Kira (Samantha Noble), Tyson (Michael J. Pagan), Zoe (Rachael Taylor), Melissa (Penny McNamee), Richie (Craig Horner), and Russell (Mikael Wilder), are transported to a rundown area of an undisclosed city to an old hotel. There, they meet Margaret (Cecily Polson), who informs the youths that they will help to clean the hotel so that it can be transformed into a homeless shelter. Being juvenile delinquents, the inmates grumble, but slowly get to work. What they don't know is that a merciless killer is in the hotel with them. As the teens alternate between cleaning, exploring the hotel, and partying, the killer picks them off one by one.
I've never seen an adult movie (...), but from what I understand, they typically aren't very well-made. So, maybe SEE NO EVIL director Gregory Dark, who began his career by directing some 30 porn movies, was trying to disprove this theory when he decided to over-direct this particular film. Dark uses a slew of camera tricks in SEE NO EVIL and at times it feels as if no two scenes were shot in the same way. Flash frames and shots captured by hand-cranked cameras abound, and the movie becomes a dizzying blur of visual somersaults. The movie features very little color, and at times it actually looks as if it were shot in black & white. (I got the feeling that even David Fincher would have seen this film and said, "Geez, you wanna' get some color in there?")
While Dark's creative decisions will remain a mystery, I can't help but wonder if he felt that he needed to give the move a severe visual sense due to the fact that the movie basically has no story. The script by Dan Madigan, who has also written for "WWF Smackdown!", is essentially an excuse for the characters to arrive at the hotel so that they can be slaughtered by Kane's character. We get little character development and the explanation for why Kane does what he does is vague and unsatisfying. The movie does have one plot twist, which in retrospect, shouldn't have been surprising. However, the film itself is so devoid of any real story that when an actual plot twist arrives, it jolts the viewer out of their stupor.
Director Dark states that he wanted SEE NO EVIL to have the feel of a film from the 70s or 80s, and to an extent, he succeeded. The movie is essentially an 80s slasher movie, and it falls into the category of those paint by number, characters killed off one after another which littered the landscape in the early 80s. However, SEE NO EVIL is oddly devoid of any charm or fun. This may have something to do with the fact that none of the characters are very likable. Thus, it would take a particularly questionable individual to watch this film simply waiting to see how these annoying people die. The movie, for an R-rated film, is very violent, and it doesn't shy away from the slashing and the numerous eye-gougings. But even this become tedious after a while.
Although I have no interest in professional wrestling, I have no beef with those involved in the "sport" making the leap to films. But, at least The Rock has made some decent movies. SEE NO EVIL is a generic slasher film that offers nothing new to the genre. Even if you have to come off of the turnbuckle, fight the urge to track down this movie.
SEE NO EVIL gets DVD in a figure-four courtesy Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. According to IMDB.com (which isn't always right), the OAR for the movie was 1.85:1. Lionsgate has been known to alter the aspect ratio for DVD releases, but I cannot say for sure if that's what happened in this case. Given the fact that this is a dark and colorless film, the transfer looks quite good. DVD's ability to handle the contrast between black and white works in the film's favor. The image is sharp and clear, showing little grain despite the dark photography. The image is never overly dark and the action is always visible. The few brief glimpses of color, usually red blood, look fine. Artifacting and video noise are kept to a pleasing minimum. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track is very muscular as it brings the film's sound design to life. The surround sound effects are very good, as are the subwoofer effects. As most of the film takes place inside the hotel, the audio does a fine job of highlighting the very sounds within the old building.
The SEE NO EVIL DVD carries a selection of extras. Director Gregory Dark and writer Dan Madigan provide an AUDIO COMMENTARY in which they discuss the making of the film. With Madigan present, emphasis is placed on the story, and it becomes quite frustrating as he talks about plot elements which aren't in the film but made their way into the film's novelization. If there was ever a movie which needs more story, it's this one. A second commentary features actor Kane and co-executive producer Jed Blaugrund. This is a somewhat dull commentary as Blaugrund points out various facts about the actors and the sets, while Kane only adds occasional input. "Do You See the Evil? The Making of SEE NO EVIL" is a 13-minute featurette which contains comments from Dark and Madigan, as well as the cast. The segment focuses the story, the characters, the makeup FX, the filming techniques, and the visual FX. "Kane: Journey into Darkness" (3 minutes) tells Kane's story through WWE footage. The multi-angle feature comes into play with "Storyboard to Film Comparison" of a scene. "Behind the Evil: WWE Features" is 11 brief (around one minute each) segments which describe various aspects of the movie. (I get the feeling that these were shown during "WWE Smackdown!"). The extras are rounded out by TRAILER and a TEASER for SEE NO EVIL.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©