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EVIL THINGS
DVD. Scanbox.

Evil ThingsAnother day, another found footage horror film – these things seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment, possibly because of the attraction the low budget and fast shooting time has to low budget, often first time filmmakers. And while I have no objection to the format as a whole, it is starting to feel as though the films are settling into a routine format that is somewhat predictable. Evil Things falls into this trap, but nevertheless packs a few impressive moments into the story.

The footage here is filmed by a group of college friends who are heading out to the country for a weekend in a sprawlingly large house during a snowy winter. When what seems to be a minor road rage incident spirals into major stalking and harassment from an unseen figure, things quickly become uncomfortable for our five protagonists – who admittedly seem the sort to burst into hysterics if they saw a spider in the bath – and when a videotape is left outside the front door that shows footage of them being followed and from inside the house, you know things are going to get nasty.

Evil Things suffers from the usual problems of the genre – the fact that very little can happen until the end means we have to sit through a lot of footage of quite irritating people who frankly seem ill-suited to even leaving their homes unsupervised. The ‘road-rage’ is initially so minor that you would barely notice it, but immediately has the car full of people freaking out – and I’ll emphasise that, a car with five people in it who are all terrified of what they assume is one man who hasn’t even shown any signs of violence or even real aggression. Later, they manage to get lost in the woods near their massive house, which just makes them look like idiots. Their bickering and panic here makes the Blair Witch crew seem stoic in comparison.

The other issue is, of course, the constant filming. Does anyone actually do this in reality? This cameraman can’t even put his unconvincingly huge camera rig down while he eats – and of course he has those magical never-ending batteries and tapes/hard drive/memory cards that allow him to film non-stop for days.

Evil Things does pull it together for a finale that is tense, creepy and ambiguously scary, and offers up a genuinely unsettling premise – after all, who wouldn't be distressed to know that someone has been in your home, filming you as you sleep? Post-credits footage and a DVD extra both suggest that this was far from a spontaneous, random attack by the stalker, which definitely gives the film a disturbing edge.

All in all, Evil Things is a fairly decent entry into the sub-genre – the stalker aspect being a refreshing change from the usual supernatural tales, and helping to justify the format somewhat. It’s over-long, and the characters might make you want to slap them, but the sense of unease it builds is potent and the demise of one character as they wander into a dark room will make you jump. If you hate the format, this won’t change your mind; but if you don’t have a problem with it, Evil Things is better than many examples out there.

DAVID FLINT

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