When you consider the huge amount of acting inherent to the WWF, you might expect acting talents to dominate this WWE horror production. OK, of course you wouldn’t. Still, acting is not where this film shines. The tired formula of teens in an isolated location who get picked off one by one is certainly nothing original, so the script doesn’t offer any real shining moments either. So where exactly does this film take on a luster of its own? Truth be told? It doesn’t. Of course, looking at the target audience, the film doesn’t really need to. What matters here is body count, right? The numbers are up there in respectable territory. And while the gore f/x are not groundbreaking, you have to give the film style points for creativity. The plot has plenty of holes. Let’s just forget the overall premise of jail inmates earning time off for fixing up an old hotel. Let’s totally ignore that when they arrive there’s obviously no direction or equipment to do the job. The setting at least takes us away from the by now clichÃ© babysitters and camp counselors. As for the rest of the story, it’s pretty much horror 101. Everyone knows that when running for your life from a bloodthirsty maniac, there’s always time to break for a joint and a quick romp in the sack.
The cinematography is almost video game in nature. There are plenty of POV shots and quirky lighting. There are too many rapid cuts, which tend to make the kill shots a bit frantic and hard to actually see. There’s also a strong influence by the latest Asian Horror Invasion, as evidenced by jerky movements and again in some of the rapid cuts. Glen Jacobs is the wrestling world’s Kane. The film was obviously developed for and catered to the wrestling personality. Unlike such icons as Hulk Hogan or even The Rock, Kane has a pretty limited range. Fortunately he’s perfect for the part, but let’s not get too many of those Shakespeare scripts to him yet. What makes Kane work is that all he really has to do is look menacing without really speaking, and Kane has it down. The film’s atmosphere works on many levels, thanks to an inspired set design. Unfortunately the shooting style cheats us of any opportunity to linger a bit and enjoy the work.
See No Evil is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The print is in excellent shape. There really isn’t any color to the film, however. The dark lighting and extensive use of shadows make the film feel almost monochromatic. The problem with that kind of a picture is it is particularly susceptible to digital artifacting. Compression problems and frequent shimmering mar this stylistic presentation. Black levels needed to be far more detailed and stable to pull this off. When the film is lit better, detail begins to emerge in impressive contrast to the bulk of the film.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is more aggressive than films of this nature have traditionally displayed. There is an impressive range of sound separation that helps place you inside the action. The score tends to get a little loud at times, but it fits the frantic pacing of the film quite well. Effects are subtle, which makes for a far more effective use of surrounds. Your sub will get some work as well, with a full rich low end response just where it needs to be.
Director Gregory Dark (What a name for a horror director!) and writer Dan Madigan provide the first audio commentary. It doesn’t sound like they are frequently on the same page. They appear to step over each other too much. The second track is a far better presentation, featuring Dark again, but this time joined by Kane. Here you will get more of what you are likely looking for. Some nice anecdotes and far more insight, that’s what you’ll find here. Skip the first one completely.
- “Do You See The Sin” I walk away from this nice behind the scenes look expecting there to be more See No Evil films in the future. They appear to have a ton of fun and already have ideas on where they expect to go next.
- “Behind The Evil:WWE Promos” These are television spots most likely from WWF shows.
From football leagues to horror films, you can’t say Vince McMahon doesn’t diversify his wrestling empire. While his Extreme football was a complete washout, I think the horror films will stick around a while. Horror films might just be a perfect companion piece to wrestling. Who doesn’t think most of those characters are scary as it is? In short, we’re talking fun mindless entertainment. While I’m not a wrestling fan, I think the crossover works just fine. What makes a good horror film? Just give me some genuine scares and maybe a laugh here and there. “It’s simple.”