THE EVIL INSIDE (2011)
Aka DEAD INSIDE
Worried parents invite a group of teens over for a house party-cum-sleepover in hope of befriending their daughter Sarah (Hannah Ward), a shy, socially-inept teenager. After foreseeing the death of one of the group, Sarah finds herself the subject of torment and hatred from the rest of the students, and it isn’t before long that she predicts the deaths of the rest of them, leading to an all-out suspicious war as the group turn against one another.
The Evil Inside opens with Sarah, who not only looks ill with her pale white complexion, but the way in which she sits sombre on the floor, wallowing in self-pity. I had a hard time watching the character of Sarah on screen as I felt myself shouting at the TV for her to buck up and get motivated. The reason behind her depressive state is never revealed which gives further fuel to the fact you want to shake this character out of her trance-like state back into reality.
When Sarah is visited by Lucy (Sage Howard) and her friends who’ve come round hoping for a good night’s worth of partying, the awkward exchanges between the characters are just as painful to watch as they are for the characters. The scenes without Sarah are well paced but as soon as the camera flicks back to her, the film slows down to a snail’s pace and drags for what feels like a lifetime. Sarah’s character only becomes interesting when she starts to experience premonitions of death. First starting with a crow, and then one of the girls at the party, her confessions of her premonitions don’t go down too well with the rest of the group, especially the girl ‘victim’ in question. Soon Sarah finds herself as an outcast within her own home and with a mysterious force revealing the future to her, she must live with the choice of informing, saving or even deserting her new-found associates.
The Evil Inside does have a couple of comedy elements thanks to the kids in the movie. Wes (James Adam Lin), the high school class president, seems to have women falling at this feet and quite enjoys the fact too. Serena (Jennifer Zhang) refers to her best friend Billie’s (Tara Strand) obession with him due to his ‘magical penis’, which did raise a laugh in what essentially is meant to be a dark, disturbing horror. Another funny moment is when Serena hears noises in the next room, so quickly grabs a kitchen knife to defend herself. With the advancing noise not yet reaching her, she finds time to quickly ‘upgrade’ to a larger knife, and then again to the biggest kitchen knife in the rack. These comical pieces make the film much more enjoyable and it’s a shame the filmmakers didn’t opt for a teen horror comedy as it would have worked out a much better film. Instead, they went with a Final Destination-esque horror combined with a mentally-disturbed character that you are unable to sympathise with.
It’s probably wrong to compare The Evil Inside to the Final Destination series, as the first two of those films were much more coherant and enjoyable than The Evil Inside. What The Evil Inside does share with FD is the premonition aspect. Whereas the characters in FD experience vivid premonitions and do everything in their power to prevent them from happening, Sarah in The Evil Inside has mere glimpses of the corpses of her so-called, new found ‘friends’ but has no reason to help them at all other than warn them of their impending doom. Rightly so as they are pretty hostile towards her right from the very beginning, though Sarah doesn’t exactly help the situation with her strange behaviour. An unexplained supernatural force also seems to be at work, keeping Sarah out of harms way and possibly the source of the ghostly spectres she sees of the dead kids.
The Evil Inside is well scored with gentle, if not slightly eerie music played throughout and is enough to compliment the film without creating it into a dramatic affair. The film struggles in the dialogue-sound department with some of the dialogue hard to decipher. The lack of subtitles with this DVD release means that in cases where you cannot hear the conversations clearlu, you’ll just have to overlook it and continue with the film. This isn’t too bad as the film doesn’t have that much of a complex story that you need to hear every single line anyway. The lighting is a little dark in places and the odd locations may be difficult to work out, but on the whole the technical aspect of the film is adequate.
With the students turning on each other, this could have been a cracking teen slasher film but suffers as the result of intertwining a psychological and spirit side-plot that would have been better if left out.
The average acting and lack of likable characters, besides Malcolm (played by Resident Evil‘s Leon S. Kennedy v/o artist, Matthew Mercer), doesn’t make this a gripping movie, but it has its odd highlights to be enjoyed.