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Film Review: Evil Intent (2010)

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SYNOPSIS:

Stephanie and Kelly are best friends and roommates. Paul is Stephanie’s boyfriend and Kelly’s former boyfriend. The three of them eventually realize they are part of a love triangle that’s filled with love, betrayal, insanity, and murder.

REVIEW:

Mean Girls + April Fools Day = Evil Intent

In a rather bleak interpretation of just how rotten some girls can be, this is the story of an ex-girlfriend and her roommate taking needless revenge on the psychologically damaged new girlfriend of her ex-boy-friend.

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Everybody with me so far?

Stephanie (Giovanna Leah) has some sort of mental illness which is not defined exactly in the film, although there is reference to a “psychotic break” that happened to her some years previous to the events in the film. All available evidence suggests schizophrenia. She is on medication for this condition, and for some reason shares an apartment with Kelley the ex-girlfriend (Libby Baker) and Trisha (Andrea Rabold).

The ex-boyfriend/boyfriend Paul (Jason W. Griffith) seems nice enough. He is aware of Stephanie’s condition and does the best he can to try and keep her on track. But over several days, Stephanie starts to spiral downward, hearing voices, seeing things, and experiencing paranoia. Try as he might, Paul can’t seem to do much for her, and eventually stops coming around.

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The story goes back and forth between the events in the apartment and a therapist’s office several years later. The doctor (played by writer/director Glenn Berggoetz) is meeting with Stephanie and discussing a pivotal moment in her life, which we learn after a while is one night in the apartment.

It’s hard to talk too much about the story without giving away major plot points. I certainly saw certain elements of the story telegraphed from a mile away almost from the beginning, but that may not be true for everyone so I don’t want to scream spoilers.

However, it becomes obvious fairly quickly that Kelley and Trisha are not the loving friends they make themselves out to be to Stephanie, and as the days pass it becomes painfully clear that they aren’t helping the situation. At all. Like, not at all.

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The sound mix can make or break a low-budget indie and I’ve learned from working with low-budget filmmakers that all available money really needs to go into sound before anything else. That being said, the sound guy on this film needs to be shot. I mean, this film was made on a very low budget (2,000 dollars) but obviously not enough of that money went into the sound. The mix is horrible. I kept hearing boom and body mic thumps. Just really, really bad sound.

I’m not a fan of the lighting in a few points, either. Some scenes are just too dark. I am geussing they shot the on-set mood lighting, instead of shooting under full light and adjusting in post.

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Still, with those complaints out of the way, I have to say the film is actually quite good. It all takes place in two locations (the doctor’s office and the apartment). Everything is kept very simple and compact, even as the story gets complex.

The script is focused on a very small cast of characters, which allows a lot of development in the short run time, which is 74 minutes. This also pleases me. I think if it had run any longer, or if there had been other characters to follow, the whole thing would have been a muddy mess.

Mister Berggoetz has exactly 8 listings on IMDB, as writer/director/producer/actor on his own films. Even listings as composer on two of them. I like a good DIY indie filmmaker and this guy seems to have it in spades.

Other than Ms. Baker (who has appeared on the hit show Modern Family), the rest of the cast seem to have only worked on the same projects with Mr. Berggoetz. Which is ok, when you consider many indie filmmakers work with the same stable of talent in several productions. Examples of this would be James Gunn, Charles Band (Full Moon Entertainment), John Waters (and his famous Dreamlanders), and JimmyO (Last House on the Right Films). There’s just something warm and fuzzy about a group of friends continuing to work together on different types of projects, playing different types of characters, and making it work.

Anyway, in summation – this is a simple, straightforward suspense thriller. Well written, well acted, and generally a good way to kill an hour on a rainy afternoon.

So on a scale of one to ten, 10 being awesome, I’m giving this film 5 pills.

 

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