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April 9, 2013

Evil Things

(2009, Dir. by Dominic Perez.)

In the movies, there are two kinds of things: good things and Evil Things. But what interests me when a movie is trying to scare me is how it deals with ordinary things and whether or not it can turn them into extraordinary things.

Horror movies are, more often than not, housed in the land of the extraordinary. Something in the film - it could be the setting, it could be the character's mental status, it could be monsters - is out of the ordinary and causes conflict and fear. Sometimes, that's all the movie is about.

Case in point: Evil Things - a movie that makes sure that almost all of things inside of it are out of the ordinary. The fun part of this movie is that it's not just one part of the movie that aims to fear, because writer/director Dominic Perez takes every chance he has to add some tension to the proceedings.

Most aspects of the film will seem familiar to the viewer. A group of college kids head to a secluded location. Those kids are terrorized by an unseen driver behind the wheel of a simple van. And then they get lost in the woods. There's a full horror movie you could make just out of those elements, which makes it that much more rewarding when Evil Things adds even more to the mix.

A supernatural twist takes the film into its third act, and raises the question as to whether or not Evil Things has too much going on. The answer, for me, is a resounding no. "Too much" would be introducing all these aspects and then trying to explain them all away with final act exposition. Perez gives his film just enough gas before letting it coast through the final act, and he makes a wise decision that saves his atmospheric horror film.

With all these things adding legitimate tension to his film, Perez simply lets them go. He doesn't try to explain away all the details, he just settles for having a creepy and tense handheld horror. Some might want more reason, but I'm perfectly fine falling into a movie that sets out to creep me out and succeeds. Evil Things works because it aims to scare us and doesn't drown in all that other stuff that can set a horror movie back.  As the film rolls to its conclusion - and continues to creep them out beyond the end credits - I think most horror fans will find themselves smiling at the devious and clever little film.

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