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Review: Another Evil – Chattanooga Film Festival 2017

8.5

Another Evil from writer/director Carson Mell shouldn’t work as well as it does. It’s a tonal mash-up, combining horror, comedy and a surprisingly intense character drama into a single film. There are scares and laughs. But, Another Evil also seriously examines depression and mental illness without reducing it to a punchline. The first half of the film is a lark of a horror comedy that had my audience consistently laughing out loud. The second half of the film morphs into a tense drama that mostly leaves the laughs behind.

Dan is convinced that his vacation home is haunted. When an unusual (to say the least) ghost hunter counsels Dan that his apparitions are friendly, he’s not happy with the idea of sharing his home with supernatural beings. Dan’s wife counsels him to leave well enough alone.  Instead, he contacts Os, a more aggressive paranormal investigator who pledges to rid Dan’s house of evil spirits. As the story unfolds, Dan becomes concerned that Os may just be a lonely guy looking for a friend instead of the ghost hunter he purports to be.

The strength of Another Evil comes from its characters. Dan and Os are living, breathing human beings who are wonderfully brought to life through the work of Steve Zissis (Togetherness) and Mark Proksch (Better Call Saul), respectively. They are men rapidly approaching middle-age carrying the baggage of career concerns and failed relationships. The screenplay by Carson Mell (Eastbound & Down, Silicon Valley) is perfectly balanced between the real and the absurd. Dan and Os have the quirks and odd habits that make them as human as the rest of us, but the film never turns them into buffoons or clowns.

Another Evil is one of those films that has you entering the theater with no expectations at all. The cast isn’t comprised of well-known actors. It’s the directorial debut of a screenwriter known mostly for episodic television comedies. But, in the months to come, Another Evil is sure to become one of those films that you enthusiastically recommend to friends and family. It’s the kind of film that audiences should see in a theater or rent/buy on VOD if it’s not playing in your area.  If you don’t support quality indie film-making with your dollars, little gems like Another Evil may disappear from theaters altogether.

Another Evil has been playing the festival circuit, but it’s currently slated for May 5, 2017 release.




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