Movie Review: “Reel Evil”

  Full Moon Features is a low-budget horror company, and with that, it has found a niche audience and a certain formulaic way of contriving their films. For example, most of their films have the distinctive score comprised by Richard Band as well as a certain setting and scenery that always seem more mystical and foreign than a lot of other films that are released. Something else that Full Moon does is they don’t try and hide their limitations. If they can’t do something to a high standard, there’s a likely chance that they’ll do it anyway. While that might repel some of the viewership, I think that’s a lot of the reason I enjoy them. They’re different than a lot of the independent film companies out-there because of how gleefully they bask in their B-movie glory. Reel Evil is different from that. Produced by Full Moon Productions, Reel Evil doesn’t feel at all like anything else I’ve seen from Full Moon. I think that’s sort-of refreshing and also sort-of adds some variation to their library and the film itself is an interesting spectacle.

    Reel Evil was released in 2012 and was directed by Danny Draven.(hasn’t really directed anything I’ve seen but has done editing work for a lot of Full Moon films) The flick’s distinctive for Full Moon because it’s found-footage, a formula that I don’t believe they’ve experimented with before. This feels like Danny Draven’s vision more than anything else, so it’d be wrong of me to tell you this is like a Found Footage interpretation of a Full Moon film. The production value of the cameras is high. I usually find that there’s something B-movie about the lighting and setting of every one of Full Moon’s films and I always figured it was deliberate. This one looks like if you didn’t know it was Full Moon, you wouldn’t know after watching it either. The issue that I have with the quality for this one, however, is that it seems like a found-footage film would fit perfectly with Full Moon’s archaic and rustic presentations.

    The film follows a crew that are shooting a ‘Making of’ documentary for a new movie as it is being shot on-location, but they soon discover there’s something strange roaming the hallways of the abandoned hospital.

    I wrote a generic description out for you because this just so happens to be a generic film. This might be a lot different than what Full Moon usually shows us, but some of the same problems are still there. A lot of unnecessary nudity to guarantee that even if the film sucks, it’ll still get a few purchases on that alone, as well as a paper-thin storyline that takes a backseat to what the director deemed as more interesting. The acting isn’t completely terrible, at least not for the most part. I think that the lead characters are adequate, and while everyone else is a little hokey and over-the-top, the focus is mostly on the leads. The mistake that’s made in this film is that it really doesn’t know how to use found-footage to its advantage and it also relies on the main-characters to carry it. They are unable to, and even though this film isn’t even an hour and a half long, the actual horror never really kicks in until the final ten minutes. For the most part, it’s the lead characters talking and roaming around random rooms. Each character playing their generic roles, “Let’s leave!” and “Don’t be a pussy!” and all that. The dialogue isn’t done too well and the actors aren’t capable of saving it.

    The film doesn’t even feel complete at times, like they didn’t finish the narrative or what they wanted to do. The scares are almost non-existent until the end, and even then, they aren’t very well-done or inspired. The found-footage is done with absolutely no skill or calculation. Found-footage is a gimmick that often is meant to work around a limited budget and try to go for realism, but this fails entirely. There’s a scene in the film where the camera is supposed to be cracked, and it looks damn-near like a cartoon with how phony it looks. When they’re not showing the cheesy-looking camera-footage, they do a static noise and fuzzy screen to segue into different scenes. All of it is clumsily done and it keeps everything from working.

    Reel Evil is a bad film. Not only by found-footage standards but by Full Moon standards. Full Moon doesn’t make ‘classic’ films, but for the right one, there’s usually one or two good things, or a good idea, or some sort of entertainment value, this one doesn’t have that. I’d like to see Full Moon experiment outside their comfort-zone more, but this didn’t turn out well.

Rating: – 1.0 out of 5.0