The Evil Within Movie Review
Written by Ali Chappell
Released by Bounty Films
Written and directed by Andrew Getty
2017, 98 minutes, Not Rated
Released on April 4th, 2017
Fredrick Koehler as Dennis
Sean Patrick Flanery as John
Brianna Brown as Susan
First (and only) time writer and director Andrew Getty brings you this (for lack of a better word) interesting tale of mental illness and rampage with Evil Within. To give you some backstory behind this movie, Andrew Getty, of the Getty oil company, a multi-millionaire with a meth addiction took nearly fifteen years to make this film. It is loosely based on his life; I hope very loosely based on his life. In 2002, Getty drafted this script and began his journey to create his own masterpiece. After the filming wrapped, he converted one of the mansions into a post-production studio where he spent years editing each frame to the exact look he wanted. This took close to a decade to accomplish. However, in 2015, he passed away from a hemorrhaging ulcer that was caused by years of meth abuse. It’s very tragic that he never got see his life’s work completed.
The opening of this film is a dream sequence that is poorly edited and goes on for way too long. People telling me about the dreams they have are so boring in general, seeing it played out for the first ten minutes of the film almost made me turn it off right away. However, this opens the discussion into the fact that our main character, Dennis (Frederick Koehler), is mentally handicapped but leads a very rich internal life. His older brother, John (Sean Patrick Flanery), takes care of him, but also wants to put him a good institution to better take care of him. He is slowly trying to redecorate the house so that he can sell it and pay for his brother to go somewhere nice and not a state hospital. He brings a mirror into Dennis’ room to make the house look more presentable. Dennis hates the mirror but soon befriends his reflection that tells him to go on a murder spree. Again, this is why I hope this film is VERY loosely based on Getty’s life.
The acting in this movie from almost everyone involved feels like they are all phoning it in. It’s like they all lost a bet or owed Getty a favor and that’s how they were cast. Respect is given to Frederick Koehler for his portrayal as a handicapped man. He did it in a way that isn’t offensive, which can be quite tricky. He clearly did his homework. The editing and structure, while very precise to Getty’s mind hive, doesn’t add much to the overall plot. The story is not overly original, as we have all heard some version of a haunted mirror tale i.e. House (1986), Mirror Mirror (1990), Mirrors (2008), Oculus (2014), etc.
The distorted fever dream that is Evil Within does not hold up to the hype. Getty is trying to tell his story in some avant-garde poorly executed manor that comes across as a hot mess. I’m sure it made perfect sense to him, as it’s based off his nightmares, but to an audience it’s basically a higher quality student art film.
Having said all of this, I still recommend you watch it. I can see this becoming a cult classic over time.
On a side note, I feel dirty tearing apart the film of a guy who died and never got to see his finished product. There is a special place in hell for me.