Bedeviled has left me low-key traumatized and reminds me why I usually stay away from horror films.
|Director(s)||The Vang Brothers|
|Nikki||Alexis G. Zall|
|Haley||Victory Van Tuyl|
|Dan||Brandon Soo Hoo|
|Mr. Bedevil||Jordan Essoe|
Thanks to modern technology, an app known as Mr. Bedevil has been infecting dozens, maybe hundreds of phones. It is theorized the app is some demon from another dimension which feeds off fear. However, the demon known as Mr. Bedevil doesn’t do much in explanations as much as it uses IT like tactics to scare a group of teenagers. However, unlike Pennywise, it isn’t scaring the kids to make them tasty but because scaring people to the point of heart attacks is how it gets its kicks. Yet, it may have met one tech-savvy teen, Cody, who might be able to end its reign of terror.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- So how did Mr. Bedevil learn about apps and is he only an iPhone issue?
Mr. Bedevil is Low-Key Funny
In a very mean-spirited and twisted way, the games Mr. Bedevil plays, as an app, are kind of funny. Especially when he is insulting Gavin or Cody. But, it should be noted, Mr. Bedevil doesn’t go into Chucky or Freddy Kreuger territory with his jokes. Everything is meant to antagonize and heighten emotions. Mr. Bedevil doesn’t seem to be pursuing banter what so ever. If anything, he’s just messing (and by messing I really want to use the f-word) with these kids for kicks and giggles. Like a cat with a mouse who is still alive but not strong enough to run.
It Will Leave You Paranoid
With most horror movies focused primarily on jump scares and gore, rather than tone, I was in no way prepared to get as creeped out as I was. For there is something about Bedeviled which makes tiny noises more noticeable. That makes you want to lower the volume to not only lessen the effect of jump scares but so your ears can investigate your surroundings. Hell, even knowing no one was in my home with me, I found myself turning about just to make sure sometimes.
Which I can’t even explain why, to be honest. Mr. Bedevil is usually a wisecracking app or else some manifestation of each characters’ fears. Of which I don’t really share any with the characters. But be it the music or, for once, knowing what is about to come not lessening the effect of the jump scare, even when writing this I can feel acutely aware of each hair on my body as it moves. I question every sound within the building I’m in and while watching this, honestly there came a point where I felt I should just stop. For really, I’m too old to be acting like a little kid who doesn’t know this is all just a movie.
For there is just something about Bedeviled which seems made to get for people like me. Those who may have become callous when it comes to violence but haven’t built up our defense to something beyond jump scares. Leading me to wonder if watching horror movies in theaters is why they, thus far, haven been that effective to me. Has being in a theater with a handful, to dozens of people killed off the fears which come from watching them alone?
As Well As Have You Yell, “Why Are You Running That Way!”
There are multiple moments when you just wanna facepalm. Be it when Nikki or Alice run upstairs, which is a dead end; Cody decides to run deeper into an underground parking garage, rather than turn 180 degrees and head up onto the street; or when Haley, despite having a pretty long and sharp knife, runs from a maybe 1 foot tall teddy bear. I get they are facing their fears but, you’re telling me all 5 characters choose flight over fight?
Leading to the question: Are these moments so terrible they ruin the movie? No. However, considering how fairly good the rest of the movie is, it is hard to not roll your eyes, if not start yelling at the screen, when the kids do something stupid.
On The Fence
Everyone Is Developed Just Enough To Remember Their Name, Who They Are Dating, And Their Fear
You know why the summary is so sparse on character details? Because there are hardly any. Nikki was Cody’s girlfriend and Alice’s oldest and best friend; Cody is Black, afraid of white people and cops, yet only has white friends, and is tech savvy; Gavin is Alice’s boyfriend; Haley kind of has the hots for one of her teachers, is scared of a teddy bear her father gave her, the only present he ever did, and is dating Dan, as well as having sex with him; Dan is Asian and dating Haley, also his parents are immigrants and he is scared of the aunt who got thrown into a well; and Alice wants to be a writer, is scared of her dead grandma, and her parents are divorced.
Pretty much, that is all we get to know about everyone. It’s not enough for you to feel invested in the characters and fear them dying but is enough so that when you see a familiar face, you can identify them. Also, while we learn very little about them, Cody and Alice are worth highlighting. Cody for being a self-aware Black dude in a horror movie, which leads to comical moments, and him figuring out many of the kinks of how Mr. bedevil exists. Then with Alice, she gets props for handling the role as lead without making it seem she is immune to being killed.
Though we may want to thank the writing of the Vang Brothers for that one.
Was That Social Commentary?
One of the things which make a lot of modern horror comedies eye-roll inducing is that usually they make the villain anti-teen or young adult culture. Sometimes, especially if the villain talks, they’ll rant about it. Which, unfortunately, Mr. Bedevil does while pretending to be an infomercial preacher. In retrospect, it wasn’t that memorable what he said but in comparison to what he said as an app, it will be the first sign Mr. Bedevil is losing his luster.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
Purely from the standpoint of a non-horror movie fan watching a horror movie, I thought this was a good film. It gave me the creeps, had a decent villain (who I do not want to see in a sequel), and a fairly good story. Now, did it have a lot of dumb moments with the characters? Yes. Also, were the characters developed that well? Not really. But really, how many horrors movies really succeed in making one of the hunted into someone you’d want to see survive over and over? So everyone being memorable but still disposable wasn’t horrible.
Leading to why this is labeled Positive and not mixed. Again, looking at this strictly within the realm of horror movies, it is a good film. One which has some flaws, could unfortunately have a sequel, but is one of the few horror films which seems to not desire to rely on blood and gore but actually getting under your skin. Hence the positive label.