A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Little Evil is a comedy-horror tale highlighting an earnest new stepfather who becomes certain that his new "son" is the Antichrist about to "end the world." Comic mayhem includes one brief glimpse of a woman impaled on a fence, a gigantic pit of fire and brimstone endangering a child, and all manner of disasters (i.e., a tornado, a violent storm, a near drowning, a man soon to be buried alive, and other threats to the little boy). The writer-director is more than proficient at providing an aura of doom, dark and spooky events, lengthy suspenseful sequences, and creepy religious ceremonies. Anyone in on the joke will realize that while the story is played for real, it's not to be taken seriously. Be prepared for lots of swearing and obscenities throughout, including multiple utterances of "f--k," "s--t," and "hell." The only sexy scene shows a woman in skimpy clothing straddling her husband while giving him a massage. Characters drink beer, wine, do shots, and talk about marijuana; no drunkenness. Irreverent fun for teens and grown-ups.
What's the story?
Gary (Adam Scott) is head-over-heels in love with Samantha (Evangeline Lilly) in LITTLE EVIL. They've just gotten married, and the only thing standing in the way of Gary's complete bliss is Sam's son, Lucas (Owen Atlas). The boy, almost 6 years old, is withdrawn and seems apprehensive and jealous of his new stepdad. What's more, the boy has a stare that threatens to pierce Gary's soul. Sam, however, is seriously smitten with her only child, and pooh-poohs Gary's concerns. A series of strange, violent events, including a suicide, a burning man, and loud prophecies that the world is about to end, raise Gary's suspicions to new levels, but they are unconfirmed ... at least until he sees some remarkable video footage taken at their recent wedding. Enlisting the aid of a good friend, and some fellow stepdads from a therapeutic support group, Gary begins to investigate Lucas's heritage, Sam's past, and the mysterious circumstances of the boy's conception. All the while, Lucas's behavior becomes more and more bizarre, until Gary finds himself in great danger. As the predicted date for the world's end gets closer, and it just happens to be on 6/6, which is Lucas's sixth birthday, Gary knows he must act, regardless of the consequences to himself and to Sam.
Is it any good?
Wonderful offbeat characters and solid acting enhance director Eli Craig's talent for combining comedy and horror with a relatable human experience (parenting) to make this film engaging and fun. Craig scored big with Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, and this follow-up after several years has its own charm. A tight, suspenseful script is well-served by Craig's artful direction. The featured characters deliver as well as the leads; especially noteworthy are Bridget Everett as Gary's bestie, Tyler Labine as a videographer who makes Films (with a capital F), and Clancy Brown, whose villainy never disappoints. Sally Field (Craig's mom) appears in a small but significant role. Well-made and well aware of its debt to The Omen, the iconic demonic-child movie from 1976, Little Evil has much to recommend it for older teens and adults.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Little Evil. How does the filmmaking team signal that the violence and horror is all in fun? When did you first realize it, or did you know in advance?
Which characters in this film are stereotypes? Is that always a bad thing? In what ways can comic stereotypes have a positive impact on audiences?
How did the filmmakers use music and sound effectively to enhance the mood and action of the movie?
In movie-making terms, what is a "twist" in a story? What was the twist in this film? Did it surprise you?
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