There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
2019 Netflix Halloween Countdown
For my third annual Netflix Halloween Countdown, I will once again be watching and reviewing some of the spooky, scary, gory, chilling, and horror-themed movies on Netflix. With each review, I will be including an up-to-date table that ranks these movies from best to worst. If you are looking to get in the Halloween spirit, by watching some Halloween-style movies, then these articles are for you!
Gary (Adam Scott) just recently married Samantha (Evangeline Lilly) and is moving in with her and her son Lucas (Owen Atlas). Like many stepdads, Gary struggles to connect with the son of the woman he married. He attends a stepdad support group in the hopes of finding a way to connect with Lucas, but Lucas is a bit of an odd child. If they did not have enough on their plate, the new family is still trying to recover from the tragic tornado that crashed their wedding. However, the man who was hired to film the wedding contacts Gary and believes that Lucas is actually the anti-Christ, showing Gary the recorded footage that suggests Lucas was responsible for the tornado.
This sounds absolutely crazy to Gary, but after he sees the video, he starts to think otherwise. Gary always thought Lucas was a bit of an odd child, but now he starts to see Lucas' strange behavior in a new light, and he must decide what to do with this information. Samantha would certainly never choose Gary over her son (even if he is the anti-Christ), but is Gary willing to leave Samantha in light of this new information? Would it be possible for Gary to connect with Lucas and raise him, or would Lucas be the death of him?
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
The Premise (+3pts)
The Water Park (-4pts)
Adam Scott & Evangeline Lilly (+5pts)
The Plot (-3pts)
Pro: The Premise (+3pts)
I thought the premise for this movie was pretty amusing, because it put the main character in a comically tough situation. He loved his new wife, but struggled to connect with her child. That is a concept that, I imagine, a lot of step-parents can relate to. In this movie, however, that child just so happened to be the anti-Christ (or so Gary believed). I have to imagine that there are plenty of step-parents out their who describe their step-child as the anti-Christ (figuratively), but the filmmakers took this idea literally, and it was pretty entertaining.
This movie was about what a step-parent should do if their step-child actually was the anti-Christ and there was a lot of humor that focused on that idea. One example was that Gary went to a stepdad support group, explained that his step-son was the anti-Christ, and the other stepdads essentially said that all of their stepchildren were the anti-Christ as well. That was just one example, but I think the filmmakers did a good job of keeping the focus on the awkward situation that Gary was in as a stepfather. I thought this film's premise was mildly entertaining, but I imagine any step-parents out there will enjoy this movie more than I did.
Con: Stepdads (-2pts)
Again, I enjoyed the premise of this movie. I thought the concept of a stepdad actually having the anti-Christ as a stepson, was both interesting and amusing. Unfortunately, I thought the other stepdads hurt this film a bit. I am a big fan of the actors who played the other stepdads (Kyle Bornheimer, Donald Faison, and Chris D'Elia), but I thought these characters got an unnecessary amount of focus. This was especially true for the character Al (Bridget Everett).
Al was not a main character, but got a ton of screen-time throughout this film. The movie had some issues, most of which were a related to focus, and the issue of focus translated to my issue with the character of Al. While Little Evil had an entertaining premise, the filmmakers struggled to focus on it. It felt like the movie was written, then the filmmakers decided to squeeze other comedic actors into the film in an attempt to add more comedy. That was what the other stepdads felt like, in my opinion. It was not that these characters were "bad", but Al and the other dads got more focus than side-characters should, and we ended up missing out a properly developed main-plot.
Pro: Comedy (+4pts)
The comedy that worked best for this movie was focused on Gary suffering through strange situations with his stepson. Gary went upstairs one night in an attempt to connect with Lucas, yet Lucas was sitting directly in front of his television (which was displaying nothing but white noise). Lucas also had a creepy sock puppet that looked like a goat, and he slept in bed with Gary and Samantha one night, as the newly weds were about to be intimate with one another. These moments were in the trailer, so are the best examples I can give without getting into spoiler territory, but there were more moments like this throughout this movie.
With all of these situations, the comedy came from Gary's reactions, and these were pretty amusing scenes. There were plenty of these moments throughout the movie, but none will make you die from laughter, or even really laugh out loud. This was more of an amusing chuckle-fest, with a handful of pretty funny moments. It will not be a comedy that sticks with you for years to come, but it was entertaining enough while it was on.
Con: The Water Park (-4pts)
The plot took a weird turn about halfway through the movie, and the scene where the turn took place was when the characters were at the water park. Before this scene, Gary learned that his stepson could be the anti-Christ, there were a bunch of awkward moments between Gary and Lucas, Gary struggled with connecting with his stepson, and he struggled with deciding what he should do about the whole "anti-Christ" thing. Then Gary took Lucas to a water park in yet another attempt to connect with the boy. The filmmakers then took the plot in a completely different direction.
Basically, all the problems that Gary was facing before the water park scene were gone, and Gary was faced with all new problems. I had trouble wrapping my head around this switch. Both sets of issues were honestly fine, but the filmmakers should have picked one set and stuck with them for the duration of the movie. Instead, we got a random switch halfway through the movie that made Little Evil feel pretty inconsistent.
Pro: Adam Scott & Evangeline Lilly (+5pts)
The two lead actors made a huge difference for this movie. Like I said, most of this film's successful comedy came from Gary's reactions to weird situations. Adam Scott has become known for playing characters in amusingly awkward situations, so he was perfect for this role. He hit the comedic moments well, but he also did a great job of hitting the more dramatic and even emotional moments of the story. While I thought Adam Scott was a perfect casting for Gary, the casting of Samantha was equally important.
With Samantha, the audience had to believe that Gary would be willing to put up with the anti-Christ in order to be with her. Gary and Samantha had to have a visibly great relationship and the actors had to have good chemistry, and I thought Evangeline Lilly had great on-screen chemistry with Adam Scott. She came across as a kind, and caring wife, but Evangeline Lilly was (like Adam Scott) able to hit both the comedic and dramatic moments of her part very well. This movie required the two lead actors to be equally capable with both comedy and drama, while also portraying a believable relationship that the audience would enjoy watching, and one that the audience would want to see succeed. Adam Scott and Evangeline Lilly succeeded with all of this, and it made it a lot easier to like this movie.
Con: The Plot (-3pts)
Like I mentioned earlier, I thought the plot for this film suffered due to focus related issues. This was a somewhat ridiculous comedy, so I could get past the whole "demonic tornado wedding destruction" thing, but I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of picking something to focus on and sticking with it. The movie started by focusing on Gary struggling to connect with Lucas (believing he was the anti-Christ), then it focused on Gary struggling to maintain his relationship with his wife (while focusing very little on Lucas), then the water park scene happened and the focus completely flopped in yet another direction. This movie was mildly entertaining, but the focus was all over the place, and it resulted in a very inconsistent plot that was hard to really get invested in.
Grade: C+ (78pts)
I can honestly say that I enjoyed this movie. It had a pretty amusing premise and it had some funny moments, but it also had a lot of issues. The plot was all over the place, as the filmmakers struggled to find one issue to focus on. It would have been absolutely fine to throw a ton of issues at the main character, but there needed to be one major issue that remained constant through the story. The filmmakers of Little Evil did not do that. While I enjoyed the concept of the stepdads, I thought the side characters got a little too much screen-time. This would have been okay if the movie was not already struggling from focus issues, but seeing as how it was, the added side characters just made the focus related issues more apparent.
Fortunately, the two lead actors were perfect for their respective roles. Adam Scott and Evangeline Lilly were able to hit the comedy just as well as they were able to hit the drama, and this story required both. The movie also required the lead actors to have good on-screen chemistry, and a believable love for one another, because we had to believe that Gary would think Samantha was worth all of the trouble. In every respect, Adam Scott and Evangeline Lilly were great casting choices, and the movie was certainly better for having cast them. Little Evil had its problems, but I still got some enjoyment out of it.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
Train to Busan
In the Tall Grass
Hold the Dark
Would You Rather
The Eyes of My Mother
Meet the Blacks
The Open House
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House