See No Evil Review
WWE release their first full production (as opposed to the co-production of The Rundown), and it is suitably nasty in the gore and violence stakes, without ever going as far as an indie low-budgeter would do instead. It is, however, very well made, with excellent production values, some very good production design and SFX, and a cast who actually make a very good fist of their respective characters. It could almost be another Dark Castle production, although without the regulation gratuitous breasts shots that would make it conform completely to expectations – in fact, former porn director Greg Dark, responsible for a large chunk of the softcore DTV stuff filling your local video store shelves, late-night Five and digital TV, gave the hardcore industry some of its most notorious titles, including the legendary New Wave Hookers starring Ginger Lynn and Traci Lords, yet here is so unbelievably chaste it’s almost like he “got religion” – the one nude shower scene is incredibly carefully shot to avoid anything being seen, even in reflection - a shocking irony.
Two cops tussle with a fundamentalist Christian eye-gouging axe murderer, the rookie dying, the older officer losing an arm but getting off a headshot that should have finished the killer. Years later, the cop is now a correctional facility officer working with young males, and arranges a co-ed outing with his opposite number at the young females institution to help an old lady and her association restore an old hotel to working order as a homeless shelter. However, someone is lurking in the fire-ravaged penthouse, and he needs to cleanse those who sin…
Whatever one was expecting from WWE films, I don’t think this was it: a serious slasher flick that is just smart enough to nod at the post-Scream wave as it rushes past them back to the eighties, it makes the star wrestler the bad guy, and puts together an interesting enough bunch of teen criminals that you’re quite happy to root for some of them to survive, but not so bothered if they get horribly broken apart and gouged. You could argue that WWE’s core audience are well-represented by the teens, and that giving Kane this sort of role by providing him with a solid back-story of religiously-motivated abuse by a psychotic mother is exactly the kind of thing that allows fans to root for the darker characters in the extended soap opera that is WWE. The film hedges its bets in this manner, and yet it still provides some solid tension and gory terrors that make it a perfect antidote to rom-coms, teen star vehicles and bad Steve Martin and Martin Lawrence films that seem to clog up the multiplexes ad nauseam. Good performances from the many Aussies in the cast (it was helmed down under), including Samantha Noble (she of the aforementioned shower scene, designed to show us her back tattoo that plays a crucial part in the plot), Penny McNamee (the dog liberationist who meets a cruelly ironic fate) and Steven Vidler (the one-armed cop, familiar from much TV, Aussie and otherwise) keep it believable enough, and the nicely-done hotel sets give the whole film a suitably decayed post-industrial edge.
All in all, not a bad start at all to WWE Productions, definitely for more than just wrestling fans, and bodes well for their coming take on the action genre, The Marine. Not necessarily worth seeing on the big screen, but will look good on DVD.
See No Evil has not yet been scheduled for a general theatrical release.