Sunday, 4 January 2009

See No Evil (2006)

Here is the killer enacting Dave fantasy #173:
Cramming some noisy bimbo's cell phone down her throat.

I've never been a big fan of the wrasslin'. I mean, growing up the 80s I remember Hulkamania and Jake the Snake and all that, but I never paid it all that much attention. Well, somewhere along the line they changed their name from the WWF to the WWE, to avoid confusion with the World Wildlife Fund. Maybe Hogan got confused and performed an Atomic Leg Drop on an endangered panda or something, I don't know. Anyway, since then Vince McMahon has turned sweaty men grappling and pretending into punch each other into a merchandising juggernaut. They have produced landfills' worth of books, action-figures, t-shirts and all the other crap that clutters up the shelves of those novelty goods stores where morons buy presents for other morons. One of these tentacles of merchandising is their film production group WWE Films. Of course I had to check out their films to see if they are as tasteless and stupid as their pedigree suggests.

See No Evil is a slasher film, and the killer is played by some guy name Kane who is, according to the box, a "wrestling superstar". I've never heard of this guy, but he's pretty much exactly what you'd expect when you think of a professional wrestler. A humongous bald dude with zero charisma or acting ability. One thing that his wrestling career has equipped him with, though, is a huge variety of ridiculous angry faces. He stomps around and frowns, puffs out his cheeks. It's hilarious. I don't think it's ever mentioned in the film, but his character has the awesome name of Jacob Goodnight. If it were up to me, I'd be putting that shit in the title of film.

Anyway a cop with an artificial hand, along with another woman, are heading up a correctional program where a group of a male and female at-risk youths clean up an old hotel. And this is a pretty filthy hotel: There are cockroaches fucking in the foyer. Regardless of how dirty the hotel is or how amorous the insects are, it doesn't take long for the kids to demonstrate exactly why such a co-educational program is such a bad idea. Most of them head off to have sex in the lounge, while a couple of guys head off to find some hidden treasure that one of the them found out about on the internet (he's in jail for computer fraud, you see).

Unfortunately, this hotel is also home to Jacob Goodnight. He has rigged the hotel with all sorts of tripwires and two-way mirrors, so that if anyone is fucking in one of his hotel rooms he's going to know about it. The two incompetent supervisors are among the first to die. This is pretty clever as the cop is set up to be the hero in an opening flashback (he loses his hand to Jacob and even manages to shoot Jacob the head before he escapes). In fact, for a while the film seems like it's pulling the trick where all the nice people die first and all the assholes survive, which would be clever if it hadn't already been done by about a thousand other horror films.

Like in Gymkata, this film has to work pretty hard to find use for Mr. Kane's wrestling talents. He doesn't do an elbow drop or a figure-4 leg lock, but does tend to throw his victims around more than the average killer. Sometimes he smacks them into the side of a door when he's carrying them around, like he's really clumsy or something. At one point he chokes two girls simultaneously, lifting both off the ground with each arm, a real showstopper. Other times he'll pull them around with a big hook on the end of a chain. His signature move is that he pulls the eyeballs out of his victims with his grody fingernails. I don't know why, but the big guy just loves them. He's got jars full of eyeballs in his lair, and when one of the teens smashes one of them to create a diversion you can tell he's pretty pissed.

Although they are pretty optimistic for thinking anyone's cares about Jacob's origin, it is explained in some herky-jerky flashbacks as the result of a crazy fundamentalist Christian upbringing, with his psychotic mother drowning him in the shower and locking him in cages for looking at porno magazines. The standard stunted sexuality stuff, which is why gets obsessed by ladies with religious tattoos and locks them in cages and masturbates.

Also, Jacob is usually surrounded by a swarm of flies. At first I thought it was just a hygiene things, I mean the guy plays with eyeballs all day and probably never showers (except when his mother punishes him), but late in the film it's revealed that the bullet hole in the back of his head is infected and filled with maggots. That's a nice touch, and one of the few over-the-top touches that found me liking this film in spite of it's faults. For instance, in one scene a vegetarian is savagely mauled to death by the stray dogs she saved from a bully earlier. You have to respect a film so singularly committed to misanthropic vulgarity.

Usually the killer in these kinds of films suffers a fairly ambiguous death, but here he has one of the most sadistic and overly elaborate death of all. Spoilers, yo. After the various battering and stabbings the killer usually suffers in the finale, he is finally dispatched by ramming a metal pole through his eyeball. Then he falls out of the window, smacking into the walls on the way down, and tumbles through the glass ceiling of an atrium where the pole is hooked onto a metal beam and ripped out of his eye socket. He plummets down and lands on a metal spike where an x-ray shot shows his heart being pierced and spewing blood into his chest cavity. Oh, and for the post-credits coup de grace, a stray dog pisses in his eye socket. Now that's how you do a death scene.

The film is directed by Gregory Dark. If his name sounds familiar to you, you probably shouldn't admit it in front of your girlfriend because his filmography consists mostly of softcore porn. Which is weird because this film contains very little nudity, although it does explain the very workman-like approach to camera placement and lighting. There are a lot of loud noises, vibrating cameras and all the other stuff that has infected horror films over the past few years, especially when the movie shifts to Jacob-vision and the camera gets all shaky and blurry. I guess a bullet in the back of the head will do that to you.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I thought this film was okay. You probably shouldn't risk it unless you are thoroughly inoculated against stupidity.

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