“I don’t fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those, I imagine death presents like a holiday at the beach” – Mary Roach
Scary as that might be Mary, obviously you forgot about the true terror of life… a smart phone. Smartphones are undeniable terrifying from: the anxiety of not remembering if you put your phone on silent for Grandma’s funeral, being left on read by your crush, or even getting a friend request from the school shooter Smartphones are the device of our greatest fears. Some can spin Technophobia into delightful narratives such as Netflix Original Black Mirror, while others don’t.
Enter Mr. Bed-evil-ed, the Boogieman of the 21st Century. Mr. Be-dev-i-led is a completely original concept of an evil entity that can shapeshift into your greatest fears and sometimes takes the form of a clown…. But also has an IOS and Android supported phone application proving that his associates degree from Devry University was in fact not a waste of his time. Let’s breakdown why this film slowly becomes my worst nightmare, a not so good movie.
This Film Rips-Off Everything
Be-de-vile-d is an unfortunate mixture of attempted homage that just never seems to disparage itself from the source material that it just seems to be borrowing an excessive amount from its inspirations. All the nods it gives are just too “on the nose” or too specific that it fails to become its own version or creation. The film just dissolves into a disarray of scenes of shallow copies of better executed or pre-existing media that it really lacks a point or purpose. Below will be visual representations of what I’m getting at, hopefully giving you the general idea of how these just don’t combine into a cohesive and original product but a choppy incongruent mess.
The production is passable but ultimately lazy. Quite a few scenes in this film could described as having the visual aesthetic of being very, very very very blue. I see like this:
and all I can think is who the hell colored this. Dramatic yes, but almost half of the film looks like you dipped film in a PAAS Easter egg decorating kit. Maybe it’s too harsh, I’m sure not many people care all too much about the coloring but when your visual dynamic is just setting the white balance to Tungsten at night and cloudy during the day your composition or ability to impress visual just becomes nearly impossible.
It also felt that the phone screen designs and interfaces where barren and just sort of lazy looking. There’s so much things like why they don’t have Wi-Fi signal, carrier, Bluetooth symbol are other things on top that would have brought more authenticity. The App itself as just a icon in the middle with a menu on the top left and what looks to be a red upload? in the top right.
The cinematography overall is nothing special, they do a shot of the teacher that looks off. It’s on some sort of track rig, but it comes across as looking like some sort of unnatural POV. I swear that I earnestly believe that the only reason this shot is this low, is because they have a shot of the protagonist in her desk with the same motion… so they probably just turned the camera around. You can see where the camera placement makes more sense from that perspective then at the teacher. From SFX to anything you can think of just comes across as cheap and doesn’t even use what it has to it’s best use.
Journey Into Absurdity?
This movie actually gets so weird and outrageous I started liking it as a comedy towards the end.
Who thought this scene was a good idea? An African American guy gets on the bus and then he whistles Chopin so that racist white people aren’t scared of him. The payoff to this is to set up his fears which results in a seen where he punches a homeless man in the face. It’s partially hilarious.
Then you have this scene which, I get that she’s an like in the school play but what kind of dumb roll-play is reciting Shakespeare while doing it. That’s just ridiculous I only recite Oedipus Rex when I have sex because I like to keep it topical. It’s really hard also to know if Samsung is actually inserting Branding in this movie with all the logos but I doubt it.
Then you have a demon who can shape-shift into anyone’s fear and of course out of all the phobias in the world to chose from we get:
I cheered during this scene, there was something so satisfying about this dumb looking bear waddling around that if the rest of this movie was this fun, it would be a much different review.
Then the Icing on the crazy cake, the Bedeviled guy randomly transforms into the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard. Don’t believe me, here it is:
What An Ending?
The ending to this movie… makes absolutely no sense. Maybe I just missed something but they believe Mr. B-ed-ev-il-ed has been defeated but then it’s a false victory as he comes back and kills the African-American fellow. Then it just ends. We have a final scene in which it teases that the mom has Mr. Be-dev-iled on her phone to prove uh-oh he’s still out there… But he never went away in the first place. It little goes from
He’s Dead>Just kidding he’s not dead>He might not be dead after all.
The logic are lack there of it hurts, It’s almost like they decided to do the most by the books ending but didn’t realize what they where doing made absolutely no sense.
Who’s to Blame?
You know what, here’s the thing about the film despite all I’ve had to say about it… It’s not that bad. I watched interviews with Directors/Writers The Vang Brothers and they gave all the right answers. I applaud the effort that was put in to finding their locations filming in the antique house rather than a sound-stage. The Vang Brothers are also aware and conscious of their influences directly coming out and saying the found inspirations in the Joker and It. They also have a dedication to represent their small Hmong community as well as other inspiring film-makers. The Vang Brothers stated that they wanted to make a Hollywood movie and with that in consideration did they really fail. It relies to much on visual effect, and a pre-sold concept that doesn’t execute well in the details of the script but that’s Hollywood for you.
The star of the film Saxon Sharbino who I thought did a fine job probably to most would just be considered another pretty face type-casted into another bad horror film. However, Sharbino seems very ambitious with a go-getter attitude towards expanding her horizons:
“I’m working on recording music and I’m taking my first steps in learning how to produce. I’m just now optioning my first script and trying to put it all together. I want to start creating my own jobs and learn how to write, direct and produce as well as act. I want to tell a story by creating the movies I want to be in.”
I think this film is unlike other films that are critically panned in that it’s does have potential. I think the Vang Brothers, Sharbino, and others among cast and crew did try and despite everything wrong with it, it’s a commendable effort and I for one will certainly be wishing them the best of luck moving on.
Did you survive Bedeviled, what did you think of it let me know with a comment down below. Liked this review make sure to leave a like, follow for more reviews. Thanks for stopping by, it’s always appreciated and as always I’ll see you at the movies.
Bedeviled [Freestyle Digital Media]
Image of L. Ron found here
It (1990) [Warner Bros]
Scream (1996) [Dimension Films]
Stranger Things [Netflix]
A Nightmare on Elm Street [New Line Cinema]
The Killing Joke [DC Comics]