a critiQal film review See No Evil (2006)

Plot: Reclusive psychopath Jacob Goodnight (Kane) is holed up in the long-abandoned and rotting Blackwell Hotel, alone with his nightmares until eight petty criminals show up for community service duty along with the cop who put a bullet in Jacob’s head four years ago.

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  • ...attention to detail (plus seeing Kane on the big screen) raises this above the average gore flick.

For the past few weeks on “WWE Raw” (TV), wrestler Kane has been hearing voices talking about May 19th – an obvious promotion for his first film, See No Evil. Since we are both big fans of WWE, we knew we were going to have to see Kane on the big screen.

But Kane had some pretty strong competition opening weekend, with The Da Vinci Code (2006) (an adaptation of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel) and the animated Over the Hedge (2006) (from Dreamworks Animation, the same team behind Shrek (2001)).

As more bad reviews kept surfacing about The Da Vinci Code (2006) as May 19th neared, we crossed that one off of our list for the time being. But that still left us with See No Evil and Over the Hedge (2006).

Finally, after much deliberation, Kane beat the animated animals, and we set off to check out See No Evil. But, after all of this, would Kane be able to bring the same excitement to the big screen that he does to the small screen each and every week? With Vincent McMahon (the owner of WWE) as executive producer, we knew Kane was going to try his best.

So, is Kane the next WWE superstar to go the route of The Rock? Unfortunately, it’s a little too early to tell. According to news reports, Kane’s character in See No Evil was built specifically for him. He picked an easier role, a bright move considering this is his first film.

Kane manages to bring his WWE persona to the big screen in See No Evil – multiplied by 1000. He’s a lot more sadistic and cruel in the film than anything WWE has had him do (although setting announcer Jim Ross on fire last year does seem like WWE might have been inclined to start him down this path, although they seem to have changed their minds since). His hulking presence and grim countenance do a lot of the acting for him, so he doesn’t really have to expand much on that. Definitely a good role to start with – better to get your feet wet first than just dive straight into the deep end of the acting pool.

The rest of the cast in See No Evil know that they are just walking around in Kane’s immense shadow, and don’t do much to really try to stand out. Their main role is just to be more cannon fodder for Kane, and they play that part well enough, but none of them really go above and beyond that. The filmmakers help keep them dull, however, by creating very simple roles for each of them that would be difficult for them to expand on even if they tried.

See No Evil starts out with a classic horror movie setup: bunch of young twenty-somethings enter a creepy house, then discover a killer, and suddenly find out that their way out is blocked – and then they die. Simple but still effective after all these years.

See No Evil manages to catch the viewer’s attention almost immediately, as the opening scene produces some nice hack-and-slash and a hostage that is rescued minus her eyes. From there, the viewer is already intrigued, so the film can then back off a little and introduce the audience to the rest of the cast. It’s a smart approach, and will keep the viewer on edge almost from the beginning.

So what type of horror film is See No Evil? Well, if you’re looking for psychological terror, there isn’t much here – it’s all about the violence and gore this time around.

And the filmmakers definitely don’t shrink from showing gore – each eye pluck or chain hook is shown in full, gory detail…and really showcase how far horror effects have come. Each gory scene of violence looks realistic enough to give most people the shivers.

But the real surprise of See No Evil is the attention to detail. A great example is when one character falls from a window – and actually hits the side of the building on the way down. How many movies showcase that? Practically none. Usually, a movie fall from a window has the person soaring out into space, in effect falling away from the building. This never made a whole lot of sense, as gravity tends to pull straight down, not at an angle.

These added touches showcase a real effort on the director’s part to create a memorable horror film. All too often horror films are just about the blood and guts, and tend to miss the little details.

Another huge surprise? The deaths aren’t predictable. Just as Poseidon (2006) shocked by not letting on who was going to die until they actually perished, See No Evil doesn’t kill off everyone most viewers would expect them to.

Sure, some of the deaths are predictable, but, for the second week in a row, I wasn’t able to guess correctly everyone who would live or die (As an example. I slept through an hour of Se7en (1995) in the theaters – not missing a single death, only a chase – and was able to guess the ending long before it happened). Either I’m getting duller as I age, or movies are getting more original (hopefully, the movies are getting more original).

The attention to detail (plus the ability to see Kane on the big screen) raises See No Evil above the average gore flick, worthy of a rental at least when it hits DVD.

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