Monday, February 5, 2018

Let's Get Ready To Evil

We couldn't have a Shortening without at least one evil child flick, right?

Quick Plot: Fearing the youth of America is falling too far behind their more ambitious peers, a private tech country sets up a learning academy for the most gifted pre-teens in the near future. The school itself is buried deep in the bottom floors of a sprawling facility and run primarily via computerized educational tools, with no need for fallible humans in the teacher roles. Instead, three twentysomethings (eager Jenny, groovy Tiggs, and bad boy/self-proclaimed genius Darby) take on the new role as caretakers, merely supervising the kids to ensure they stay in bed and move from one class to the next.

This fancy new school is so elite that its occupants can only see with the help of souped up glasses that connect them to the technological workings of their surroundings. Also on board is ARIAL (it stands for some kind of Siri-esque function), a chipper virtual assistant designed to help the intellectually outmatched aides in their daily activities. 

You don't have to be as smart as the subjects to guess that locking super genius children in a sealed underground ward just might lead to some murderous chaos. As our three young adults try to evade their violent charges, we the audience watch it all unfold via their enhanced goggle vision.

Directed by Martin Owen (with a script by Owen, Jonathan Willis, and Elizabeth Morris, who also plays Jenny), Let's Be Evil follows the welcome format of IFC Midnight produced films with a brief 80ish minute run time. Since this is such a small, focused tale, it makes sense.

It also helps because one can only take eyeglass camera vision so long before it becomes a tad annoying.

As anyone who's ever stopped by this site knows, I'm an easy mark for a killer kid film. Maybe that's why Let's Be Evil worked for me. The visual style keeps things fresh enough, and the fact that we're literally in the dark on what's going on with the children works well. The leads don't get enough time to be interesting or overly compelling, but in their brief screentime, the story keeps everything engaging enough.

High Points
You have to give credit to a film that tells an age old tale with a new style

Low Points
I like to think I'm smart enough to get most of the plotting in modern horror, but it's been several days of thinking and I still can't figure out the exact significance of the opening and closing frame

Lessons Learned
Perhaps any school that's willing to hire caretakers with criminal records isn't going to be the safest work environment

Strong sensible people don’t put sugar in their coffee

In the near future, young men will be fashioning themselves akin to Max's jerky stepbrother in Stranger Things

This is the sort of case where I know I enjoyed a film more than the average viewer. Let's Be Evil has plenty of problems from a production and storytelling point of view, but it comes with a fresh approach and doesn't waste time turning into a hunt. It's not for everyone, but if evil children in a high-tech (but low budget) sounds intriguing, give it a go via Instant Watch.

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