October 21, 2011

See No Evil (2006)

Directed by Gregory Dark. Starring Kane ("Jacob Goodnight"), Christina Vidal ("Christine"), Michael J. Pagan ("Tye"), and Samantha Noble ("Kira"). Rated R.

Source: Region 1 DVD (Lionsgate)
Running time: 01:24:01
Country: USA

A bunch of (sub)urban youths are taken out of a detention center and relocated to a decrepit hotel, where they spend a few days servicing the community and cleaning out the remains of a fire that nearly burned the place down a while back. Supervising them is a former cop who survived an attack four years earlier by an ax-swinging psychopath with an eyeball fetish but lost part of his arm in the process. His partner, however, wasn't so lucky and was killed by the mysterious madman known as Jacob Goodnight, who fled the scene and has been missing ever since. Unfortunately it's lights out for everyone involved when Goodnight resurfaces in the aforementioned hotel and preys on the teenage troublemakers and their armless chaperon.

They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but unfortunately it wasn't the case with this film. It's been a few years since I sat down to watch SEE NO EVIL, and I still think it's a pretty average, poorly-written slasher littered with plot holes and illogical character behavior, but I still enjoy it for all the wrong reasons and sing the praises of Glenn Jacobs, better known as WWE's one-eyed monster Kane. I've been known to enjoy pro-wrestling on occasion, and, coincidentally, Kane has always been (and still is) one of my favorites. Apparently Vince McMahon was able to tame the seven-foot-tall bo-hemoth long enough to get him to make a movie, and the end result proves that Kane is a natural when it comes to horror films.

Surprisingly, I have a lot to say about this film, so let's start with the troubled teens (all of whom are played by actors in their twenties, and possibly thirties). When they're introduced, the frame suddenly freezes on each of the characters' faces, mugshot style, literally displaying in text the crime they committed that landed them in hot water. This would be fine if there was a pay-off of some sort, but alas there's none. Is there a point in letting the audience know that one of the girls was busted for shoplifting when her thievery skills aren't even incorporated into the film somehow?

All of the characters are pretty obnoxious - some more than others - but that comes with the territory when dealing with most slasher films. There's not much to talk about when it comes to how the characters play a role in the film. It's standard slasher movie stuff: people are dispatched by the killer one by one until someone is left to usher in the climax, which then leads to the inevitable confrontation with the killer. Speaking of which, the kills are pretty good. The most cringe-inducing moment came when one of the female characters broke her arm and a bone snapped right through her skin, which led to an ironic death when this character - a tree-hugging animal rights activist - was torn to pieces by a pack of stray dogs.

One of my favorite characters in the film is the armless wonder, the ex-cop. Because of his violent encounter with Jacob Goodnight at the beginning, he ultimately ends up with a goofy-looking prosthetic arm. Again, there's absolutely no pay-off whatsoever with the arm, but the sight of it does provide a few unintended laughs. The fact that the film transitions from the opening flashback scenes to present-day with a shot of the cop's prosthetic arm hitting an alarm clock is wonderful. Oh, and it gets better. Following the scene of the ex-cop waking up (I don't remember the character's name, hence my frequent use of "ex-cop"), he eventually leaves his house as the camera focuses in on a picture of him and his partner from the police department who was killed at the beginning of the movie. Not a big deal, but at the same time it opens the door for a theory that perhaps "ex-cop" and his former partner were lovers. Think about it: he lives alone, he's miserable, and he still has a picture of his former partner nicely displayed in his house four years later.

Speaking of great introductions, the manner in which Kane's character is shown fully for the first time (as opposed to his silhouette and brief glimpses leading up to that point) is a nice homage to TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. He emerges from out of nowhere, captures one of the teens with a large hook attached to a chain, and quickly retreats to one of the hotel's elevators before slamming his victim against a wall for good measure. Kane frequently uses the elevator in the film, randomly popping out and attacking whoever's unlucky enough to be on the same level. Jacob Goodnight's motive and back story involving an overly religious, abusive mother don't really make a lot of sense (neither does his fascination with tattoos), but I at least give the filmmakers credit for trying.

Some might argue that SEE NO EVIL is a sub-par slasher at best. Personally, I think it's an average movie that's elevated by a few things: consistently great cinematography that emphasizes the decayed look of the hotel setting, some great kills, and most importantly the presence of Kane. Having wrestled under a mask for a number of years, Kane - or Glenn Jacobs, rather - learned to "sell" emotion without saying a word, which is something common for all masked wrestlers. And even when he stopped wearing the mask, he played the silent killer role on television, relying on facial expressions and combining it with the body gestures he adapted while working under a mask. His size and his years of experience as a monster heel in wrestling translate extremely well into creating a solid horror antagonist. Aside from all of that, SEE NO EVIL is a great time-waster: you don't have to pay much attention to it and it's only about seventy-five minutes long excluding the end credits.

Score: 6


  1. Seen this one when it first came out in theaters and I liked it then. Today not really but it does have some pretty cool scenes and Kane is very creepy looking in this movie! I'll watch it again whenever "syfy" airs it.

  2. I hated this movie. It made me feel foul and not the good type of foul. Ugh!

  3. rf_13: Glad to hear you're a fan.

    Jenny: "Foul"? That's pretty harsh. Maybe I'm biased because I'm a wrestling fan. Also, is there a good type of foul?

  4. I love this this is how WWE launched their film unit. It may be because I'm a Kane mark but I enjoy it as well. "great time-waster " is a pretty perfect assessment. There's a strange brokenness to it. Something about it never feels quite right. The director used to to porn so it's especially weird that the kills aren't really lingered on for the most part. Lastly: Vince told the writers that he wanted a scene were Kane has a 3ft long penis. I wish that had happened.