[Screen It]

(2006) (Kane, Samantha Noble) (R)

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Horror: An enormous killer with a thing for removing his victims' eyes terrorizes a group of juvenile delinquents who've been brought in to refurbish the dilapidated hotel where he lives.
Four years after losing his forearm while shooting the homicidal, ax-wielding psychopath that killed his partner and removed a young woman's eyes, former cop Frank Williams (STEVEN VIDLER) now works at the county detention center. It's there that he tries to get juvenile delinquents such as Michael (LUKE PEGLER), Richie (CRAIG HORNER), Russell (MIKHAEL WILDER) and Tye (MICHAEL J. PAGAN) to get their lives in order before their criminal ways have a lasting effect.

His counterpart, Hannah (TIFFANY LAMB), has brought some of her teen mischief-makers -- Kira (SAMANTHA NOBLE), Christine (CHRISTINE VIDAL), Zoe (RACHAEL TAYLOR) and Melissa (PENNY McNAMEE) -- to meet them at the rundown Blackwell Hotel. There, the kids will exchange a month of their respective sentences for three days of labor working for Margaret (CECILY POLSON) an older woman who says she's turning the place into a homeless shelter.

Most of the delinquents don't get along with each other, but set out to do what they can to the dilapidated place. Little do they know, however, that the hulking psychopath Frank shot years ago -- Jacob Goodnight (KANE) -- secretly resides in the hotel. Psychologically damaged from years of abuse by his religiously warped mother, Jacob kidnaps but doesn't kill Kira as he's fixated on her various tattoos. From that point on, the others try to rescue her and/or avoid the killer who has a penchant for removing his victim's eyes from their heads.

OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
Thanks to market over-saturation and little in the way of imagination or novelty, horror films have quickly become as redundant and pointless as romantic comedies, and pretty much only play to their respective, targeted demographic audiences.

All of which means I usually dread the latest such entry in either genre. Not because they're scary, mind you (at least in a traditional sense), but due to that fact that I know they're just going to be more of the same old, same old, all regurgitated ad naseum. And in the case of horror films, that means a bunch of cheap, quick and/or manipulative material thrown out in hopes of scaring up some decent box office and subsequent home video dollars.

The latest such entry -- that like most horror films of 2006 was not shown to reviewers before being unleashed onto the public like some horrible plague -- is "See No Evil." Yet another film where the title has been served up like a softball to critics ready to knock it out of the park with some witty wordplay, this one concerns -- natch -- a group of teens who end up spending time in some dilapidated environs.

Little do they know -- natch, natch -- that a psychopath resides there and -- triple natch -- will hunt them down and kill 'em like any good horror movie villain will do. Said character this time is played by professional wrestler Kane (a.k.a. Glen Jacobs) who at least provides for some slightly interesting, nature-made visuals as the real guy stands at an imposing reported height of seven feet (according to the press kit).

While size may matter in some circles, it doesn't always translate to horror films, and that's certainly the case here. Of course, the height differential -- notwithstanding any sort of unrealized basketball matchup -- is present in hopes of generating more scares or at least tension than a regular-sized boogeyman might.

Unfortunately, newcomer Dan Madigan's lackluster and contrived script doesn't do much of anything interesting with that element or, for that matter, the rest of the material that feels recycled from countless, straight to video "B" movie releases featuring homicidal psychopaths.

Simply put, the big lug isn't happy that his home's been invaded by a bunch of juvenile delinquents (yes, including the horror staple of the horny couple) and thus sets out to dispatch the pests. Oh, and that eye fixation - well, it's all a result of dear old mum having done some serious psychological damage to her kid via some old-time religious fanaticism.

It has something to do with eliminating sin and if the peepers have been removed, then, well, who really cares? The past familial trauma is supposedly present to make the killer more sympathetic, but that really only applies to the poor caged boy seen in the flashbacks and not our WWE (that being World Wrestling Entertainment - that produced the film) villain.

As is most such pics, the only real "suspense" is trying to figure out who dies, in what order, and by what means. The film does buck horror film convention in not offing the black guy first, but director Gregory Dark can't hide the fact that his previous experience behind the camera consisted of some music videos and a slew of porno flicks.

No matter how many rats, cockroaches, head maggots (yes, you read that right) and removed eyeballs he can throw up on the screen, he can't hide the fact that he doesn't have a grasp on making a truly scary film. That's regardless of a few visual tricks - most lifted from the world of music videos and, who knows, maybe the porn industry - that are thrown in but don't manage to spruce things up to any great extent.

It doesn't help that we don't care about any of the would-be victims, all of which are played by what's essentially a no-name cast that's too busy running around, hiding and losing their eyes to try anything as novel as really acting.

As a result, the 80-some minute runtime feels like an eternity, making one wish the killer would hurry up so that the end credits can roll and we could all be done with this bloody mess. Do yourself a favor and close your eyes while passing by the theater or soon to be video offering to make sure you don't see "See No Evil." The film rates as a 2 out of 10.

Reviewed May 19, 2006 / Posted May 19, 2006

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