2 1/2 StarsBehind the scenes documentary filmmakers Kennedy (Jessica Morris), Cory (Kaiwi Lyman) and James (Jeff Adler) are hired to cover a large studio horror movie. The film is being shot at a legendary haunted insane asylum, and as the three explore their surroundings they discover there may be something more evil on this set than the lead actress. Soon the trio are trapped in the belly of the hospital, as the movie crew are picked off one by one this leaves the demons with the behind the scenes crew — who will survive to the final reel? Find out in Full Moon’s latest, Reel Evil.
I’m not the biggest fan of found footage films, but horror does seem a worthy genre pair up. Director Danny Draven cut his teeth directing Full Moon flicks in the early 2000’s and soon moved on to become their premier editor. His style is direct and to the point, something that fits with the quick scares of the horror genre. Unfortunately this is both good and bad here. There aren’t a lot of scares in Reel Evil, and the few there are don’t play out for long. Mostly I found myself wondering what will happen — will something jump out here — no, nothing — something’s going to get them here! — no, nothing. That tension is good in a horror film, but the fact that most of the time nothing happened gives you an idea about how scarce the horror actually is.
The acting is good for found footage; I’m used to hating characters in these types of flicks, but found the actors quite likable. The three main stars worked well together with Jessica Morris being the standout. She played Kennedy with just the right mixture of strength and vulnerability. I could easily see her starring in more movies as the heroine. The dialogue was decent enough, although at times there were scenes that played out a tad on the cheesy side. Normally I’d say this is a good flick to watch with someone that doesn’t particularly like horror being that it’s a bit gorier than your normal Syfy TV movie, but not much scarier. The odd thing about Reel Evil is the gratuitous sex and nudity. Sure it’s a staple of the genre and something Full Moon fans will want, but it felt out of place and a little soft core-ish, especially for a film that didn’t want to go full bore gory with the horror.
I’ve been a huge Full Moon fan since my teens, and I may have enjoyed a movie like Reel Evil a little more in my youth, but nowadays I’m far more demanding. Reel Evil is clearly targeted to teenage boys and horror genre fans. Also of note on the DVD is the resurrection of the Full Moon VideoZone, which is a special behind the scenes featurette (or video magazine as they called it) that they’ve been doing since the days of VHS. Yes, Full Moon had special features on their VHS tapes after the movies, it was one of the great things about owning a Full Moon flick. Lacking anything to get reel excited about (including the lack of Jamie Bernadette) I couldn’t recommend Reel Evil to the average Joe or casual horror fan. Of course if you truly love horror, then you should be watching every Full Moon movie regardless of taste.
Director: Danny Draven
Stars: Jessica Morris, Kaiwi Lyman, Jeff Adler