3 out of 5
Directed by: Carson Mell
Billed as a horror-comedy in order to justify being on Shudder, I’d bill Another Evil as more of a dark comedy – a spin on The Cable Guy, with our obsessive friend (Mark Proksch) happening to be an exorcist this time around.
Painter Dan (Steve Zissis) and his family have a cabin in which they get away from the city periodically. During a game of charades one night, a sound is heard upstairs, and investigating the source leads Dan to a pretty spookful sight. Encouraged by his wife (Jennifer Irwin), they get an investigator to check things out, but his lack of outward professionalism (played for some of the flick’s best laughs by Dan Bakkedahl) doesn’t inspire much confidence in Dan, nor does his take that the spirits which are haunting the house should just be left alone to share the space. Dan gets a recommendation from his manager for a more serious type – Os (Proksch). Dan takes a weekend alone with Os up in the cabin, and the film is full-in on this guy being a little kooky, but the first night seems to show actual “progress” of capturing the spooks, so a kooky, polite friendship is allowed to form while Os continues to track down what he claims as a separate spirit. In fitting with The Cable Guy format (or any other overstaying-their-welcome type flick), the friendship starts turning into something not so friendly, and then you’ve got a guy making you eggs every morning, hunting ghosts in the nude, and who won’t dang leave your house.
Writer / director Carson Mell finds a pretty good balance for this, maintaining Os as harmless enough such that we accept that Dan accepts him, and his actions – given that Dan has actually seen a spirit – are similarly convincing enough that, sure, you’d let him stay and finish the job. The humor is mined from the discomfort of the situation, and that’s where the flick could’ve stood to dig in a bit more. Os is doofy, but talks a big game, with a lot of swearing, and that concept is just sort of repeated for the entire midsection’s worth of jokes. It’s purposefully bland, and not unamusing, but the moments when the flick is trying to establish that Os is taking the friendship much more seriously than Dan needed both a bit more weight themselves, and a bit more juxtaposition with the humor to be affecting. However, the way in which things escalate is pretty terrifying, and the twist that I think most of us are expecting to happen doesn’t; something else does, which I thought was a great way to handle the situation.
Another Evil is a pretty humble little flick. It’s put together well, its leads are well committed to their roles, and it manages a couple of surprises along the way. I dug the low key vibe, but it maybe didn’t need to be so humble; pushing itself a little further could’ve made for a cult classic instead of an entertaining distraction.