Displaying The Comedic Horrors Of Being A Stepparent
By: Josiah Akhtab
Overly religious and mildly sidesplitting film manages to get a couple chuckles, though decent in terms of concept and production; it leaves a lot to be desired with its less than adequate balance of comedy and horror.
Netflix film Little Evil directed and produced by Eli Craig, is a 2017 horror/comedy that delves into occult and religious concepts, while the realities of being a stepparent serve as the underlying theme.
Adam Scott plays Gary Bloom, a real estate agent, married to Samantha played by Evangeline Lily, and moves in with her and her son Lucas (Owen Atlas) who initially isn’t receptive to Gary’s attempt to reach out.
Later in the film, Gary is on a sale for an old nunnery that needs refurbishing; he receives a call from Lucas’ school regarding the death of a teacher—attributed to Lucas’ “habit” of “pushing people over the edge.”
Gary and Lucas are recommended to receive counseling by a physiatrist.
In Gary’s first meeting, his coworker Al and others discuss whose stepchildren are the worst, one stating “My stepkid asked me when I was going to die. I told him ‘I don’t know that, that’s up to god.’ He said ‘well, when god takes you, can I have your van?’”
Gary, realizing just how ‘off’ Lucas is, discovers that he is, in fact, the Anti-Christ—destined to destroy the world.
The film ends with Gary and Lucas racing down a derby track, happy as father and son. Through occult rituals, almost burning in hell, attempting to drown then ultimately deciding to save Lucas; vowing to have his back no matter what—the bond between the two becomes stronger than ever.
Though the realities of step parenthood are examined, the film proves to be more comical than horror based with witty banter, quirky villains and half-witted parents. Religious/occult scenes being mildly ominous to where a toddler could watch without having nightmares.
Many scenes in the film brought a sense of comedy, eliciting laughs at awkward and embarrassing moment each character faced. The fact Chris D’Elia, stand-up comedian, is starring in this film detracts from the horror that’s supposed to be provided along with comedy.
The horror based concepts were conventional at best, reminiscent of films such as The Omen, The Ring and Orphan. Though setting and film style were fresh and interesting, it still misses the quality that makes you flinch or have minor heart attacks.
The religious and occult storyline served to highlight a more real and human issue, dealing with other people’s children. Portraying them out to be demons at first, the religious plot served as a metaphorical depiction of the realities of step-parenting—accentuating the struggle that bears worthwhile fruit in the end.
The film was shot in Cleveland, Ohio over 25 days with no reshoots, it started out with a $7.5 million budget with soundtracks by Marco Beltrani, Brandon Roberts and Marcus Trump.
The film was relatable and comedic with only minor hints of horror, an unorthodox yet mildly interesting combination.