Zombos Says: Good
I finally made it to a theater to see See No Evil. Unfortunately, this theater was almost as dirty and decrepit as the old Blackwell Hotel in the film. It smelled, and not with that wonderful smell of buttered popcorn. It was a challenge finding a seat that did not look like it was used in one of Hostel's guest rooms. I hate sitting on stains of unknown origin (hey, what a catchy script title! Stains of Unknown Origin). So much for that special movie-going experience. I was determined to not let my surroundings influence my viewing of the film too much.
It seems 'dirty' and 'decrepit' in horror movies are becoming dirtier and more decrepit. When the police enter Jacob Goodnight's (Glenn Jacobs) home it is the typical horror movie home for psycho, axe-wielder types: smoky, dark, and with bloody streaks across the walls. A girl's screams forces them to move in without backup. They might as well have carried their own body bags to save time. The scene is brutal, gory, and ends badly for them.
A few years later we meet a group of so-old-it's-new-again-styled delinquents from the County Detention Center; Sal Mineo and James Dean would have been proud. Each tough-to-be-cool kid is introduced with a text description pop-up onscreen describing his or her crime against society, like this was a video game and we were going to choose a character to play. I'll take the computer hacker delinquent for 500 life-points. I like computers and computer hacker types usually last the longest in body count films like this.
As each body bag delinquent steps on the bus, along with the police officer who had firsthand experience (really, no pun intended here if you see the film) with Goodnight, I imagined them in order of elimination. I am getting rather good at this sort of thing, but I must admit the director Gregory Dark, and writer Dan Madigan, did manage to add a few twists to fool me. The bus stops at the old Blackwell Hotel, which is appropriately horror-movie-dirty-and-decrepit, so much so, I wondered why a handful of young delinquents are brought in for cleaning up what is obviously a professional hazmat team's cleanup job.
The hotel's rooms and hallways are gloomy and saturated in grimy browns, blacks, and assorted soiled colors. Roaches impudently crawl all around and rats defiantly wiggle their tails underfoot. There is garbage and stains of unknown origin everywhere; on the floors, the walls, the furniture, the bedding. The delinquents make themselves right at home, defiantly romping on those icky bedding and crawling mattresses as if they were fresh linen, and indiscriminately sitting on everything. I shifted uneasily in my seat, wondering what I was sitting on.
The naked-girl-in-shower-scene sets up the terror. The smackdown begins with Goodnight whipping out his old axe and hook. Glenn Jacobs' performance experience in the WWF pays off well here. There is a nifty effect used when he's close to attack; flies buzz around his head. Why they do that is eventually revealed. It reminded me of Candyman with his bees.
All through the mayhem, black and white flashbacks show us Goodnight's unhappy upbringing indicating how his sordid fondness for eye-plucking and eye-pickling became a hobby. I dare you to watch and not involuntarily close your own eyes during these scenes. The slaughter to action pace is hectic and over the top with gory detail. Terminal insult and injury occurs when one unlucky girl pleads with Goodnight to let her go when she's dangling from a high window. He does. The long fall through a skylight hurts, but it is the hungry homeless dog she petted earlier that bites the hand, and just about everything else.
The dwindling survivors wind up in the typical horror-movie-den-of-slaughter, otherwise known as Goodnight's apartment, where dead bodies, parts of bodies, and lots of eyes in jars and ichor cry out for maid service. There are more flashbacks as he tries to communicate with his caged victim: his psychotically religious mother kept him in a cage so his communication skills are lacking. The room bells are tied to various beds throughout the hotel, tinkling when anyone gets an inkling, if you catch my drift. He leaves his trapped victim when the tinkling sends him off to find the culprits, and a crashing scene involving a two-way mirror, his ominous silhouette, and lots of broken glass sends everyone running again. The hunt is on and the survivors fight back. A plot twist I didn't see coming leads to just deserts.
While the film may be a derivative romp in a deserted hotel with a bunch of smart-ass delinquents and a psychotic—get your fingers out of my eyes!—brick wall of a killer, it does have its horrific moments. The acting, including Glenn Jacobs' turn as the murder machine, is good, and all in all, the film is worth seeing at a cleaner theater or on DVD. Just keep the Handi-Wipes close by.
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