Lionsgate // 2006 // 84 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // August 21st, 2009
You don't know evil unless you see it.
His mom calls him Glen, but he is known by many names: Unabomb, Christmas Creature, Doomsday, Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS, Fake Diesel. All of these are the faces of the man they call Kane. In mask and out, this guy is scary. Now, in the role of a lifetime for this giant of a man, Kane plays Jacob Goodnight, an ugly freak who hates teenagers and bums but loves eyeballs and Mommy.
On some kind of work-release program for attractive criminals, eight young cons enter the old, burned-out Blackwell Hotel to help renovate it into a homeless shelter. The place sure looks abandoned, but they're not a lone. Upstairs, a monster sits, waiting for victims so he can steal their eyes and quench his diabolical thirst.
While there isn't a lot of good about See No Evil, it did exceed my expectations in one way -- not a single victim died from a Tombstone Piledriver, a chokeslam, or a flying clothesline, and that's more impressive than it ever should be. After seeing Dwayne Johnson "Rock Bottom" evildoers and Steve Austin deliver a "Stone Cold Stunner" to his enemies, you have to count your blessings when dealing with films starring wrestlers.
Kane may, however, hold the title for the best performance from a wrestler in a WWE film yet, and that's high praise given Vince McMahon's track record. After the unbridled success of both his professional bodybuilding league and off-season football league, I couldn't imagine where Vince would stretch is creative fingers next. Of course, movies are a natural extension of pro wrestling and the proof is in the results. See No Evil is exactly as bad as you would expect to come from people who wrote this same Kane into a necrophilia storyline infamously known as "Katie Vick."
But let's give credit where credit is due. Kane is a huge, scary-looking dude who, as long as he's kept quiet, makes for an intimidating onscreen presence. The few noises he makes that resemble words are mumbled and he has the menacing look down pat. This also makes Kane the best actor in the film; his associates are too irritating to describe, so the less said about them, the better. Thankfully, a few of the more obnoxious characters are killed early, but we still have to deal with the survivors, who aren't much better.
Even if the performances were good, it wouldn't have saved this mess. Director Gregory Dark (Body of Influence) combines all the most basic horror cliches and wraps them around this ridiculous work-release premise. I'm not sure what prison program targets hot teens exclusively but, if you're in the joint, this is definitely the group to hook up with. These are far from the first hot teens slaughtered in film and it surely will not be the last, is this really the best setup writer Dan Madigan could come up with? These aren't hardened criminals; they look more like they're registering for fall semester. We're told at the beginning why each of them is in prison, but it hardly matters because these facts have no relevance to the story and are never mentioned again; just a waste of time. As soon as they get into the hotel, they pair off and hit the bedrooms where their "activities" alert Jacob Goodnight to their presence. The massacre can't come soon enough.
Speaking of our psycho, his setup isn't much better: some business about his issues with religion and mommy setting him off. It's a thin premise, but Kane really does do his best to pull it off. With very little makeup, I'm scared of the guy, and that's high enough praise for a cheap horror film villain. The punishment Goodnight dishes out is appropriately messy and people with eye phobias will probably be grossed out by all the plucking, but there's nothing here you haven't seen before. Goodnight uses a hook and his fingers, so his kills are right in your face where they should be. A lot of blood and body parts are strewn around and, though there's little tension in the film, splatter fans will be kept fairly entertained by the body count.
See No Evil in Hi-Def may not set anybody's equipment on fire, but it performs a lot better than the film does. The film is purposely dark and grainy so there isn't a lot to say about the image, but it is recreated accurately on disc. The muted colors look good and flesh tones are all fine. The transfer has few flaws. The 7.1 DTS sound mix is quite good, full in all channels and bombastic at times. The overall separation could be more dramatic, but the mix is more than adequate. The extras, the same as on the standard definition release, are irritating, however. Two commentaries, one with Dark and Madigan, the other with Kane and producer Jed Blaugrund, are standard fare, but the best of all the supplements. The writer/director commentary is quite flat, though informative, while the wrestler/producer track has better stories and a lighter mood; the latter is preferred though neither is special. After this, we have a series of short vignettes intended for air during WWE broadcasts. These are as stupid as they could possibly be, presenting the Kane in his wrestling character while promoting See No Evil. They are stupid and insulting. Apparently, Vince McMahon believes the horror audience has the same level of intelligence that he believes the wrestling audience does: that of a slow toddler. I guess this explains the lack of quality in both the film and in his current wrestling product, so I shouldn't be surprised, but it really bothers me to have my intelligence insulted like that. The remaining supplements are the usual fluff pieces, but don't believe what they're telling you. There's nothing for these people to be proud of.
See No Evil is dumb; there's no good reason to sit through. If you happen to be a fan of the film, first, I feel bad for you but, second, there's no reason to upgrade from your SD release. The image isn't that great and there's nothing new to offer as extras.
Guilty. Where was Jacob Goodnight before I started watching this?
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Storyboard Comparisons