Being a stepdad shouldn’t be easy to begin with. However, when your wife’s son speaks demonic voices and burns people alive with his sight, you might be dealing with something riskier than the usual family issues.
Simply put, this is the plot of Little Evil, a Netflix horror-comedy starring Adam Scott as Lucas’ stepdad and new Evangeline Lilly’s husband. The relationship between Samantha (Lilly) and Gary (Scott) seems all good and well, until Lucas reveals himself as… well, the reincarnation on the Antichrist!
From that point – which occurs in the first scenes of the film – onwards, Little Evil displays an endless stream of hilarious scenes that spoof many horror clichés.
Specifically, this film could be seen as a parody of Omen (1976) but, simultaneously, puts into play references to other horror classics, such as The Shining (1980), Poltergeist (1982), Children of the Corn (1984), Evil Dead (2013) and many others.
Nevertheless, this movie never tries to be a Scary Movie type-of-deal; instead, it emulates the style and tone of Scream (1996) and The Cornetto Trilogy. In regards to the latter, my girlfriend made me notice how the fast-paced editing choices and cinematography take strong inspiration from Edgar Wright.
In terms of direction, in fact, Eli Craig (Tucker and Dale vs Evil, 2010) proves again to be a perfectionist by not making a single lazy shot. Personally, I perceived this style of cinematography quite invasive in certain scenes, but I can’t deny its masterful execution and impact on the film itself.
In regards to story and execution, Little Evil relies much more on the comedic aspect rather than on the horror one. In summary, it’s just a highly entertaining film that cleverly dissect the horror genre and its stereotypes: from jump-scares to dream-sequences to research scenes to characters’ decision.
Yet, when it comes to the characters this movie does a brilliant job. After Krampus (2015), Adam Scott pulls off another great performance as a star of a horror comedy, this time backed up by Evangeline Lilly, whose ingenuity and naivety are perfect for what the director was going for.
Yet, the relationship between stepfather and stepson in this movie is explored beyond the comedic territory and (again, according to my girlfriend) the message delivered by the movie in this regard is powerful and subtle. I didn’t get any of that, to be fair, but it’s probably just me being a bit dumb. Sorry!
Running for 89 minutes, Little Evil flows perfectly, without any dull or dragging moment. Every scene is seamlessly connected to the next one and Craig should really be praised for that. After Tucker and Dale vs Evil and, now, this film, I’m really curious to see what Craig will do next.
According to RottenTomatoes, Little Evil is a perfect movie, gathering a 100% of consent so far. Being nit-picky, I personally found a couple of things that keep me away from loving this film.
First, one specific character: Al, played by Bridget Everett. She’s supposed to be the embodiment of raunchy comedy within the story. However, having a comic relief within a comedy can be tiresome sometimes and Al got to my nerves pretty soon in the movie. Yet, I like the otherwise subtle dark humour in the film, thus I found her character quite annoying.
Furthermore, I believe some scenes should have worked better as dark and gory instead of light-hearted and cheerful, since they would have made for a nice contrast of tones the movie could have benefitted from.
Apart from those small complaints, I strongly recommend Little Evil especially for two kinds of viewer: suckers for 80s horror flicks and people who look for a fun, dark comedy based on horror clichés. Even if you don’t belong to the mentioned categories, though, this film deserves a watch. Cheers!