My notes on Let’s Be Evil
Though this has a challenging and complicated POV conceit – almost everything we see is through sets of ‘augmented reality’ glasses which might not be showing the whole picture of what is really happening to the wearers – this American-set British science fiction horror film owes at least as much to Village of the Damned (and Joseph Losey’s The Damned) as to more on-trend mutations of the found footage genre (eg: google glass horror JeruZalem). Oddly, it falls down by spending too much time with its mostly doomed adult stooges (who aren’t that interesting) and not establishing its creepy kids as much more than props for most of the show. Given that eerily quiet, seemingly well-behaved, super-powered conclaves of children are almost as infallible as evil clowns or broken dolls on he creep factor scale, it’s missing a trick to build a film around them but make so little of them. There are good ideas and moments, but it isn’t as suspenseful as it might be – and some crucial plot points only get approximately made.
In the future, three hard-up adults – Jenny (Elizabeth Morris), Tiggs (Kara Tointon) and Darby (Elliot James Langridge) – take well-paid jobs as in-name-only supervisors of a series of examinations held in a sealed underground facility. Their charges are children who might have extraordinary powers, but mostly keep silent as they work at mysterious tasks – only minimally interacting with the grown-ups, who are required to wear ‘augmented reality’ recording glasses as they work (if they take them off, the facility is in darkness – an eerie idea the film never manages to convey visually). Their only interface with the masters of the project is Arial, who appears in their vision as a woman-shaped sexy swirl of colours and fractals (Jamie Bernadette) and talks to them in a soothing voice (Natasha Moore).
In a not unprecedented problem of this sort of cinema, our main character is Jenny, but since her POV dominates we see less of her than the other two so Morris doesn’t make as much of an impression as Tointon and Langridge. Jenny is first to notice that something is up with the kids and becomes convinced they’re tormenting little Cassandra (Isabelle Allen), the only child who talks much with the supervisors, and as the little horrors take over the facility, cutting off communications and corrupting Arial, Jenny tries to rescue Cassandra. It’s not hard to see where things are going from quite early on. The obviousness of the end makes even this relatively short film (83 minutes) feel overlong – though there’s one decent chill, as the augmentations fade and Jenny sees unaugmented reality. Scripted by star Morris (Interface), producer Jonathan Willis (Dartmoor Killing) and director Martin Owen (LA Slasher).