Review: It takes nearly 7 years for Eli Craig, writer-director of the 2010 horror-comedy sensation, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, to finally spawn a Netflix-produced sophomore project entitled Little Evil. Similar to what he’s done in his previous feature, Craig once again plays out with horror clichés and extracts a fresh spoof, which would test and tease audience’s references with clear-cut hilarity.
In Little Evil, Eli Craig spoofs clichés from spooky-kid films, incorporating tropes from Rosemary’s Baby and, most obviously, The Omen. Simply look at the poster and you’ll see the alleged prodigal son (striking a pose like Damien in Omen) taking up the axis between his biological mother, Samantha (Evangeline Lilly) and his stepfather, Gary (Adam Scott). That kid (portrayed by Owen Atlas) is, as the title might suggest, the little evil—the spooky kid in Eli Craig’s horror-comedy.
While borrowing major plot elements from The Omen with some additional backstories from Rosemary’s Baby, Little Evil apparently is a film about fatherhood, or specifically, step-fatherhood. The film mostly revolves around Gary’s attempt to communicate and to create bond with his estranged step-son.
It’s never easy to father a child, especially if the child isn’t one’s biological child; moreover if the child is the devil spawn or, to borrow The Omen’s term, the Antichrist. Soon enough, Gary’s attempt to connect with his beloved wife’s son easily turns into a horror story because Gary himself is an inept and inexperienced father figure.
There’s where Little Evil’s premise becomes relevant and intriguing as ever. Fusing fatherhood issue with spooky kid tropes might become a quintessence of original unoriginal ideas. Unfortunately, Eli Craig’s script often divides the focus to two different lanes, which barely intersects. The parenthood issues are often neglected as the film progresses through its proud Omen carbon-copied elements and its quest to parody them (plus some other spooky-kid film, e.g., The Shining and Poltergeist). Even, Gary’s character and mood is often Omen-esque, including his reluctance to perish the devil’s spawn.
Despite the unbalanced plot, Little Evil benefits from Adam Scott’s hearty performance as a man embracing fatherhood. While inept father/husband role has always been Scott’s typical cast, he can still carry and infuse the story with little heart and sensitivity even though the film has never lived up the premise. Other supporting casts, including Bridget Everett (who portrays a gender-ambiguous father) and Tyler Labine (Tucker & Dale vs. Evil), inject the whole fun-ride with some extra laughs.
Although Little Evil often strays from the good intentions the plot might suggest, it might still produce few good laugh and nostalgia to your classic horror repertoire.
Little Evil (2017)