See No Evil wastes no time letting the blood flow. Within a few minutes, a rookie cop and a veteran go into a creepy abandoned house, where the rookie gets chopped and the veteran loses an arm and shoots the killer in the head. Cut to the news story explaining the multiple bodies in the house that was thought to be abandoned. Cut to four years later, and the one-armed vet is now a one-armed guard in county lockup, moving a specially selected group of coed teens convicts off to a weekend of community service.
From then on in, See No Evil is set in a burned-out gilded age hotel cramped full of county lockup coed cons from the Jaded Age. They are briefly introduced in camera flashes of name and crime, and about 15 to 30 seconds covering the stereotype they fall into. Thereís the kleptomaniac yuppie, the hacker, the two aggravated assaults with hearts of gold, the two drug dealers/ex lovers (apparently there was some domestic violence, but not enough for the beater to not come back for the ex later on), one of whom has now succumbed to the prison charms of the aggravated assault female. Article continues below
The group gets to the hotel, which looks like it cost a few million when it was built but somehow has been purchased by an unnamed charity whose sole representative is a short, quiet grandmother who wants to turn the hotel into a homeless shelter (because thatís exactly what happens to nine-story blighted buildings that have been around since the '20s). She sets the kids to work and tells them to avoid the atrium at night, and then everyone goes their separate ways. The hacker and breaking and entering decide to look for treasure on the top floor, and itís all of about 30 seconds until the look for treasure brings out the creepy large man with the hook, and the blood starts flowing again.
See No Evil puts more effort into the cinematography than it does into the rest of the movie. Cinematographer Ben Nott shoots the first 40 minutes like a lurking voyeur peeking through a hole in the wall. When the action starts, Nott doesnít use the cheap, quick camera flash to scare you, he swings the camera like a terrified teen so we see the evil around the same time the victim does.
If only the rest of the movie were as noteworthy. The girl that supposedly soothes the beast (or at least enough to not get killed and have the others go after her) tries to look sweet and scared but ends up looking merely mildly confused.
About halfway through the movie (probably around the time the writers realized that at the rate they were going they would run out of victims in another five minutes), the killing slows down and bad guy Kane (aka Glen Jacobs
) takes center stage. And when heís center stage and not just a brief glimpse in the camera lens you come to realize that your villain is a retarded and pastier version of the Pillsbury doughboy (the actorís day job is professional wrestling), and when that cat is out of the bag thereís not much left to scare you. From then on in the movie turns to camp, the cinematography loses its charm, and the movie ends up getting more predictable and less exciting the longer you watch it.
See No Evil manages to startle through the first half and snooze through the second, making it an all right movie to flip to for a while on cable, but if you want to be consistently scared, or see characters killed that youíve known enough to care about their death, well, donít see Evil.