“Little Evil” is skillfully playful

Released on Sept. 1, “Little Evil” is a horror-comedy film written and directed by Eli Craig. The movie takes the traditional horror staple of an evil child—as seen in movies like “Orphan” (2009) and “The Ring” (2002)—and gives it a hilarious makeover with the help of its stellar cast, led by Adam Scott of “Parks and Recreation” fame.

“Little Evil” tells the story of newly-married Gary Bloom (Scott) as he moves in with his wife, Samantha (Evangeline Lilly) and her troubled son, Lucas (Owen Atlas), after their disaster of a wedding. As he attempts to embrace step-fatherhood and bond with his stepson, Bloom begins to suspect that all is not normal with Lucas.

The cast itself is a gift. Scott was probably the best casting decision that could have been made; he successfully portrays a regular guy who wants a kind of normal life with a kind of normal family. His character’s brand of comedy is very similar to his character’s in “Parks and Recreation”—almost everything is situational, and he rarely, if at all, cracks jokes. Instead, what jokes the movie has are told by his friend, Al (Bridget Everett), a fellow stepdad. The cast is rounded out by amazing actors and actresses, from Sally Field, portraying a Child Protective Services worker, to Lilly as Samantha, a protective mother that just wants her husband to connect with her son.

This is not Craig’s first foray into horror-comedy, having already written and directed “Tucker and Dale v. Evil,” and it shows in the best ways. Craig’s script combined with his direction leaves the movie as 95 minutes of laughter punctuated with genuine emotion. All the traditional horror movie ingredients are preserved: the lights eerily short out along long hallways, the music is suitably suspenseful and Lucas is a very creepy child. But right when something might possibly be actually scary, or give you pause, the dialogue and the actors’ comedic timing breaks the tension and lightens the mood.

In the end, “Little Evil” is a short and sweet horror comedy that really does manage to stand out from the pack. With quality acting and brilliant comedy, Craig has managed to create a movie that is an instant classic, for me at least. This is not a movie that should be watched if you want to be scared to death, but rather one that should be seen with friends or if you just need something to laugh about.


Film: “Little Evil”

Director: Eli Craig

Release: Sept. 1

Rating: 5 out of 5