SEE NO EVIL
Director: Gregory Dark
Year of release: 2006
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 84 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: See No Evil begins with two police officers arriving at a crime scene at a dilapidated residence where they believe a killer is holed up with hostages. Upon entering the building they find a grisly scene with only one female survivor who has had her eyes gouged out. As they are checking on her one of the cops is killed with an axe by an unseen assailant. The other officer manages to fire his weapon wounding the attacker but not before his arm is taken off with the axe. The killer is never found. Fast forward a few years and the surviving cop now with a prosthetic arm has a new job at a prison where he is taking charge of an experimental work release program. Eight criminals will be under his care and assigned to a rundown hotel which they will clean up and attempt to bring up to code in exchange for a lighter sentence. Upon arrival the group meet the elderly owner who says the upper floors of the hotel are off limits due to a fire that gutted them and left them unsafe some years before. The unruly prisoners however choose to explore these upper levels behind the guards back . In doing so they unwittingly stumble upon the lair of one Jacob Goodnight, the maniac responsible for chopping off the cops arm in the past and a a man obsessed with ripping out peoples eyes.
Good points: There were a couple of good deaths in here that were relevant to the characters such as the Eco warrior who ended up being bitten to death by hungry dogs to whom she was showing affection to earlier. On a similar note a woman constantly on the phone meets her end due to something involving her own mobile phone. There is quite a lot of gore throughout as well to go along with the deaths.
There was a song containing the words "children of the world" that had a continuous presence throughout the film which I liked and which fit the atmosphere of the film pretty well. Although it was unclear if this was supposed to be music playing in Jacob's head, a record/CD that had been put on or just music that we the audience could hear it was effective and a good addition.
The last fifteen to twenty minutes or so were very action packed and quite exciting and definitely the best part of the film for me and a good way to end it. I was surprised as well at the end that one character survived who I didn't expect to so it kept me on my toes you could say.
The killer is a bit more layered than other monster type villains becoming a bit conflicted and unsure of himself towards the end.
Bad Points: I thought the whole premise of the work release program at the hotel was unrealistic and because of this I found the story a bit hard to get into at first. It seems unlikely that eight prisoners some of whom were dangerous would be given free run of a huge hotel in the care of just two guards. It would surely be too easy for an escape to take place and even if there was such a scheme it would surely be either all male prisoners or all female and not the half and half mix we see here. Plus wouldn't they be wearing orange jumpsuits or some kind of overalls instead of their own clothes?
Again in relation to the story I felt that a few things were a bit lame such as the part where Richie and Tyson go exploring the upper floors looking for a rumored safe of money. It just seemed a bit simplistic and childish to me that there would be valuables to hunt for as if they were going on some sort of pirates treasure hunt or something. Obviously it was just a plot device to isolate them from the main group but it seemed a clumsy one to me. Also the way Tyson picks a lock with a piece of wire looks too unrealistic for me. He also had some sort of tazer type weapon which I can't recall how he managed to get hold of so this possibly wasn't explained unless I missed something.
It wasn't very clear if Jacob was supposed to be a normal man albeit a large one or more of a supernatural type figure. My initial impression with the flashbacks to his troubled upbringing and relationship with his mother would indicate he was a normal man but then we have the scene with the bullet hole in his head with flies and maggots coming out which would lean more towards supernatural.
Verdict: I was initially a bit disappointed with the film and wasn't enjoying it all that much. Partly this was due to the community service prison work storyline but also I wasn't overly keen on the weapon of the killer or his look in general. Although there are exceptions I usually prefer more of an elaborate costume or mask. I did begin to get into it as things developed though and by the time the last third of the film had rolled around I was on board with it and enjoying it a lot more.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Cop killed by axe.
2) Female guard Hanna: Head bashed into lift and eyes pulled out.
3) Frank: Killed with a hook through the throat.
4) Russel: Killed off camera and his eyes plucked out soon after.
5) Melissa: Dropped out of a window by Jacob with a rope/firehose attached to her feet. She dangled into the atrium where she was killed by hungry dogs.
6) Richie: Attacked with a hook early in the film and his eyes later pulled out.
7) Zoe: Chocked to death by her mobile phone.
8) Tyson: Crushed against the wall by a heavy safe. Also zapped with his own tazer.
9) Margret (Jacob's mother): Impaled on a spike or bracket of some kind on the wall.