Let’s Be Evil is probably just one of the first horror movies to use the virtual reality universe for a modern POV. And we’re off to a pretty good start!
However, don’t be fooled into thinking Let’s Be Evil is without issues, just because the above introduction is positive. I was pretty excited about the style and feel – including the use of virtual reality for a POV effect – because it made sense. And it’s not that it stopped making sense halfway through, it just became a lot less important as Let’s Be Evil became a very average horror chase movie.
You know the kind; We get to know the characters and we have a pretty good idea how we feel about them. Things are interesting and you find yourself getting involved with the story. That’s why I also really did care when the lead character Jenny begins experiencing increasingly strange things. The kids have always been a bit creepy – mainly because they don’t speak. At all!
Still, the creepiness comes more from them clearly being a lot smarter than the three young people, who are there to chaperone them. The entire cat-and-mouse part of the movie just ends up taking too long. It doesn’t mean Let’s Be Evil is a bad movie. It just means it’s not nearly as good as it could’ve been.
The cast is lead by Elizabeth Morris, who plays Jenny. She works really well as a young woman, who has worked with kids before and really just wants everyone to be happy and healthy. The two other chaperones, Tiggs and Darby, are played by Kara Tointon (Last Passenger) and Elliot James Langridge respectively (Northern Soul).
Great concept, but not enough content
In general, I found the concept of virtual reality mixed with point of view to work really well. I tend to really like POV [Point of View] movies, when they’re done well. It’s the same as found footage. It just has to make sense. And you can’t do much better than placing the characters in pitch black darkness, where all they can see it through the virtual reality (or augmented reality, if you will) glasses.
Also, I need to give a quick mention to Isabelle Allen, who plays one of the kids. In fact, she plays the only child we get to know a bit better, and since the dialogue is very sparse, she has to act out her story with facial expressions. She does an excellent job, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from her. Also, if she looks familiar, it’s probably because her face was everywhere when she was the girl in Tom Hooper’s Les Misérable from 2012. [Playing the part of young Cosette means you’re literally the poster girl].
Directed by Martin Owen, this marks his second feature film. The star of Let’s Be Evil, Elizabeth Morris, co-wrote the script with Owen. I really wish the last 20 minutes had been done a lot tighter. I’m never a fan of letting things run in circles, and while I can respect that it’s necessary every now and then, it became too much for me. If the ending had been as strong as the first part, then the overall rating would’ve been higher from me as well. Still, it’s a very interesting movie that certainly works on many levels.
Let’s Be Evil is out in limited release and on demand from August 5, 2016.
Director: Martin Owen
Writer: Elizabeth Morris, Martin Owen
Cast: Elizabeth Morris, Kara Tointon, Elliot James Langridge, Isabelle Allen, Jamie Bernadette
Desperately in need of money to care for a sick parent, Jenny takes a job supervising children at a learning center for gifted students. But when she and two other new employees are ushered into a maximum-security underground bunker where eerily robotic children are outfitted with augmented reality glasses, Jenny finds herself thrust into a disturbing technological experiment in which she is an unwitting player in a terrifying virtual game.