Friday, June 25, 2021

Fear No Evil

Fear No Evil
Frank LaLoggia

For the majority of its running time, Fear No Evil plays out like a sillier version of The Omen series with Andrew (Stefan Arngrim) alternating between hapless teenager and a cartoony queer Antichrist engaging in all manner of horrors. These scene grow increasingly strange, a kid is killed via dodgeball, someone grows magical breasts, some zombies show up and do nothing, and a passion play goes horribly wrong with hilarious results. The set-up for Fear No Evil may be nothing special, but these moments certainly are. I’m not saying they make for effective horror film (they don’t) but you’re not going to forget them anytime soon.

The whole story is driving to a final conflict between devil and some angels (or three people who have to become and angel?). In a typical satanic film this would become the most serious conflict of the narrative as the souls of the entire planet on the line. I’m sure Fear No Evil felt like this battle was serious stuff but instead we get a lot of flashing lights, fog machines,  to the point that the whole thing borders on incomprehensible. This vast biblical war plays out something more like a cheap fantasy film. It likes any gravitas, but it does pack in plenty of pretension.

"Ok, that was a pretty good kiss."

The acting in Fear No Evil is uniformly bad but none more so than Stefan Arngrim as Andrew aka the son of the Devil. He is woefully miscast here, neither convincing as a wormy dork or font of all evil.  This only adds to the nonsense lightshow that passes for a climax. There is something very camp about him as a character which leads to the most infamous moment in the whole film: The shower kiss. 

It should say something about Fear No Evil that the most notable moment  in the film doesn’t feature demons, zombies, or even a drop of blood. Tony (Daniel Eden) the local bully, decides to taunt Andrew with a kiss in the boy’s shower. This game of gay chicken takes an unexpected turn as they lock lips and continue doing so. Tony isn’t happy about this, but Andrew seems into it. Is Fear No Evil conflating homoeroticism with ultimate evil? This coupled with Andrews final form would suggest yes, but at the same time there is no doubt that he is the protagonist (anti-protagonist?) of the story. It is a strange transgressive moment for a number of reasons (especially for 1981) and the film certainly could have benefited for having more things like this moment.

"Yeah it was."

The continue the thread of unexpected touches, Fear No Evil features an incredibly strong New Wave/Post-Punk soundtrack featuring Talking Heads, Boomtown Rats, and the Ramones just to name a few. There is no in-movie reason for these particular bands, and I can’t even draw a line from the mood of the film to this music. They have nothing to do with each other and although I enjoy this music, I can’t defend it being in this film at all. The mystery of Fear No Evil continues…

Fear No Evil is a camp disaster and a continuously entertaining one at that.

No comments:

Post a Comment