You have just received a letter from the US Department of Justice which is accompanied by video evidence from a recent investigation that arrives in the form of a DVD, simply titled "The Artifact." The letter reads that the FBI is investigating the disappearance of five friends in the Catskills Mountain range. In an attempt to locate the missing persons, Agent Dominic Perez has requested your help in reviewing the evidence and reporting back with your findings. This is EVIL THINGS.
EVIL THINGS jumps on the "found-footage" trend that has been re-popularized in recent years by films like QUARANTINE and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. The format can be quite effective if done right, or it can completely distracting if done wrong. EVIL THINGS is done right. The shaky hand-held appearance and muffled audio that occasionally occur throughout the film have the opposite effect that they would normally, lending credibility and integrity to the footage. Perez has also selected a cast of believable, real-life people, as opposed to falling back on bland characterizations. The lack of character development is replaced with character interaction, which makes complete sense in this environment. Characters would not be discussing their backgrounds, dreams, and motivations in a natural setting. It is very much like Greg McLean's brilliant WOLF CREEK in this regard.
Because there is so much downtime in between scares, EVIL THINGS looks and feels authentic. It does not simply line up one startling moment after another, but rather builds on the isolation of the location and the growing fear of the characters. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness, since the pace is sure to turn off many bored parties before any real action takes place. Perez plants an early seed of unease as the characters are being stalked by a mysterious character in the opening scenes. While the terror seemingly subsides, the audience is still left wondering where and when the killer will strike. This all leads up to the shocking twist that lands on the front doorstep in the form of "The Artifact" about an hour in, a videocassette that is sure to chill to the bone! EVIL THINGS plays a complete and unexpected reversal on the "found-footage" format, which validates the film and adds a clever new turn for the genre. The implied violence in the end only goes on to prove that Perez is able to craft a frightening terror tale without resorting to gratuitous gore.
EVIL THINGS is one of the better Independent forays into the "found-footage" format, and a welcome addition for fans of REC, THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, and Haneke's CACHE.
Read our interview with director Dominic Perez HERE!!
If you liked EVIL THINGS, check out:
CACHE, THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, CLOVERFIELD, LONG PIGS, EYES IN THE DARK, WOLF CREEK.