How to Ruin Your Own Movie: Evil Things Edition

The film opens with the resolution, as is so popular in the found-footage genre-

So everybody dies at the end. Don't bother getting attached to any of them, folks! Not that you could - this is not a story about the world's most likeable college students. Lots of bickering, lots of people telling the main filmmaker to 'stop pointing the camera at me', as if that will somehow make it seem more realistic. Here's a tip for future 'found footage' flimmakers - in real life, people mind being filmed, or they don't. And if they mind, their friends turn off the cameras, because if they don't they seem like complete and utter tools.

So unless you want utter tools and lots of bitching from characters, make it so the people in your movie don't mind being filmed all the time. Trust me, all that people will notice is that the movie is pissing them off less than most 'found footage' films.

Another good thing to avoid is long sequences stolen directly from other 'found footage' movies. In this case, there's an extended (10 minute!) sequence where the characters get lost in the woods. It's not like this is even justified by the plot - they're not looking for anything or seemingly going anywhere. A group of five people apparently just think to themselves 'hey - let's go off wandering into the scraggly woods without compasses, maps, marked trails, or any idea of the geography of the area!'

Meaning that the characters are also too stupid to continue to live.

My own personal check-out moment came 13 minutes into the movie - the characters had already been menaced by a reddish/brown van that nearly caused an accident by speeding past them and then stopping, blocking one lane of a highway. Later, when the group has stopped to eat at a diner, and the van returns to continue stalking them, everyone acts like there's nothing they can do to protect themselves.

As if reckless driving and menacing people on the road aren't crimes. Yet when one of the group heads outside-

It's not to take down the license number and call the police, but just to bang on the van's window and then allow it to escape.

No, I don't have any idea why, either.

Another good tip for ruining your own movie? Don't have an ending! After an interminable amount of time during which interchangeable people hang out and then briefly get lost in the woods, a videotape is left on the front porch:

This is just 50 minutes into the movie. The characters watch it, and realize that it's footage of them from the past two days - the killers have been taping them that whole time! The monsters even snuck inside the house and filmed the students as they slumbered!

After this the lights go out in the house and the group finds themselves unable to escape because their car has been stolen. How they didn't hear it drive away is beyond me - maybe it was stolen while they were lost in the woods, but if so one would think they'd have noticed on the way back to the house.

Over the next ten minutes everyone hides and is killed off camera, and the film calls it quits at the 70-minute mark, without anything intelligible having happened, other than a ripped-off-of-Silence of the Lambs sequence that defies belief.

Yeah, it's not that dark in there. There's a clearing around the house, there's a full moon outside, and all the windows are open. She's been in the darkness for something like five minutes at this point - plenty of time for her eyes to acclimate themselves to the darkness.

But the film doesn't have the good sense to call it quits after the end of the movie as it should, despite it being well under feature-length - instead there's footage of the killers searching out their next victims (apparently they love killing people who have video cameras), and then the writer/director/editor offers us all of the footage that the killers took while stalking the group.

Why? Other than to pad out the running time, I have no idea. We already saw this footage when the characters were watching it, and seeing a more complete version offers no new information.

This isn't one of those endings where the 'killer's private reel' shows the audience something revelatory that sheds new light on the film. All we learn is that yes, in this earlier scene-

There was a guy out in the snow filming them with a camera. Which we already knew. The scenes don't even tip off that there are easter eggs we can go back and enjoy if we want to watch the film a second time, because - as far as I can tell anyhow - there's no sign of the killers in any of those other scenes.

It's not like there aren't questions that need answering - and the 'killer's reel' is notable for something that's missing. There's no footage of the group out in the woods, even though it's established that at least one of the killers were there, watching them.

We know this because of the big unanswered question of the movie - why is a Predator making a snuff film and driving a van? That's capitalized for a reason, BTW - at no point in the film do we get the slightest idea what the killers look like, but twice in the film (the woods, the end), we get to hear the sounds they make which are (SPOILER ALERT), the exact kinds of rolling clicks that Predators from the film of the same name use to communicate with one another.

Why are aliens killing filmmaking teens out in the snow when they're only capable of living in warmer climates?

I've got no idea. And if you asked the writer/director/editor of Evil Things, I doubt he could tell you either.


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